niwandajones: (Default)
Note: the below is a big honkin' setting riff based on one of the new D&D races in the PHB2. If that's not to your interest, please accept my apologies. You can totally stop reading now. :-)
niwandajones: (Doc Gnosis)
I've been running a 4e game since the weekend it got released, and we've been having a great time (check the excellent write-ups Judd and co. have done about the game here). But I got to thinking about another game I'd like to run, less straight-up D&D and shooting more for a Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser or Conan kind of thing.

On Judd's insistence, I've posted those thoughts here.
niwandajones: (Doc Gnosis)
... a short, relatively non-substantive bit of gaming geekery that probably has a target audience of two, if I'm lucky.

I want to write up a Spirit of the Century hack based on Richard K. Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels, call it "Spirit of Altered Carbon" or something, in which you spend Fate Point Refresh to buy the sleeve you're in, and spend more or less of it depending on how much modification the sleeve's packing. From the books, it seems like most of what defines a character in SotC terms -- skills, aspects, even stunts -- are things that follow a personality from sleeve to sleeve, but in addition to that core each sleeve would come with its own package of stunts and/or aspects that would cost a certain amount of Refresh to possess.

And that's what I'm thinking about right now instead of doing homework.
niwandajones: (Default)
So, the lunchtime gaming crew met for our first session with the Star Wars Saga Edition RPG. Last week we did character creation, and this week we actually got to play. It was a ton of fun, for this humble GM at least, and the players seemed to like it, too. Here’s the report; it's really long, in case the number of cuts didn't make that clear.

The opening crawl )

The characters )

Today’s session )

All in all, a pretty action-packed, fun, and exciting 45 minutes of gaming.

(I told you the game played fast.)
niwandajones: (Doc Gnosis)
I had the pleasure to play in a Zorceror of Zo one-shot this weekend, run by [profile] contentedmoo. She's been good enough to post a kickass actual play report, which is well worth the read, if you enjoy that sort of thing.

And she let me play Hellboy. :-D
niwandajones: (Doc Gnosis)

Nigh two weeks overdue, here is the Actual Play report from the Spirit of the Century game I ran at Get-Your-Geek-On-A-Thon on Saturday, October 7. The characters played are illustrated here, and described here and here. For those averse to clicking, we ended up with six PCs: Dynamo Jones, Prudence the Librarian, Kid Shadow, Jane "Flygirl" Justice, Brick Hauser, and the President of the United States of America.

Thrilling tales within! )
niwandajones: (Default)
So, my Spirit of the Century game, by all accounts, rocked the house. Everyone had a great time -- which is saying something, what with having six players and a four-hour time slot. I plan to put up an Actual Play report, for those who enjoy such things... but for now, I'd just like to share one of the more tangible* benefits of having a professional illustrator in the game.

Our Intrepid Heroes! )

*A less tangible benefit, at least to y'all, is that Storn is a rockin' gamer, a pleasure to have at the table, and made a kickass Kid Shadow. Shoutouts to Josh (Dynamo), Jeremy (The Librarian), Paul (Flygirl), Kevin (Brick), and Bret (The Prez) as well. Thanks also to all y'all who contributed concepts/stat suggestions. And enormous thanks to [ profile] contentedmoo, who went above and beyond the call in getting these characters ready for play. Rock on.
niwandajones: (Default)
So, [ profile] contentedmoo and I have been working on statting up the pre-gens for Saturday's game. We've got phases and aspects done for four out of the seven, and I thought I'd post them here for some comments.

A dockworker, an inventor, a girl in a jetpack, and the President walk into a bar... )
niwandajones: (Doc Gnosis)
So, I'm lined up to run a game of Spirit of the Century for the next Get-Your-Geek-On-A-Thon in less than two weeks. At the moment, no one's signed up for the game... but I've learned to expect that more people show up than sign up, so I'm gonna do my best to be prepared.

And that means pregens.

My basic idea is to have 5-7 pregens there for folks to choose from, with Phases 1 through 3 already completed; people will pick the character who interests them, and then everyone will do Phases 4 and 5 as a group. (For some background on Phases, you can check the preview document here.)

So, what I'm asking the creative braintrust of my friends list for are basic character concepts: cool pulp names with associated one- or two-line descriptions. [ profile] contentedmoo has graciously offered to help me flesh the concepts out with Aspects, Skills, and Stunts -- though if y'all are rules-savvy and have suggestions along those lines, they'd be welcome.

My example, to get the ball rolling: Brick Hauser, Man of Granite. A dockworker-turned-crimefighter gifted by SCIENCE! with nigh-impenetrable stone-like skin and inhuman strength!

So, any ideas?
niwandajones: (Default)
So, thanks to [ profile] drivingblind, I had a playtest copy of Spirit of the Century on my grubby hard drive as of last week, and last night I got a chance to run it. Thanks to [ profile] contentedmoo, [ profile] judd_sonofbert, [ profile] warriorbtch, and Kolja for stepping up and making the pulpy action and adventure happen!

AP report at

AP report and discussion at [ profile] drivingblind's journal
niwandajones: (Default)
So, last Sunday I ran a one-shot playest of Don't Rest Your Head -- a keen game written by [ profile] drivingblind. I sent him the Actual Play report, and he's posted it here.
niwandajones: (Default)
This entry is aimed straight at the geeks in the house, especially that rarest of crossovers, the gamer who likes Star Wars. All others may wish to avert their eyes.

I was toying with the idea of using FATE to run a Star Wars game. (For those of you who haven't read FATE, do so! It's amazing, and available for free.) I decided that the stunt-style magic system would work best to represent the Force, but then I had to consider how to handle the Dark Side. I wanted the Dark Side to be the quick, easy, but ultimately empty and soul-destroying force that it is in the films; simultaneously very tempting but also leading inevitably to moral degeneration.

So, I'm gonna post what I've come up with behind the cut, for the perusal and comment of my fellow gamers (including some folks who have a better understanding of FATE than anyone else on the planet. ;-) )

Jim's FATE Star Wars )
niwandajones: (yes.  It's a dagger.  Move on.)
You know, this week should've been a big posting week.

Last Friday? I was offered a job at some hack-job version of Amway specializing in medical supplies. (Yes, a hack-job version of Amway. Square that shit.) Now, this was all the more disturbing because I was in Borders at the time. Looking even scruffier than usual. Reading a magazine. What's that you say? Was I reading an issue of Inexplicably Underemployed Ubermensch?

No, I was reading fucking Dungeon.

So, here's the lesson, boys and girls: being unshaven and wearing a faded t-shirt and frayed khakis while reading about the fucking Githyanki screams "LOW SELF-ESTEEM", and will attract the attention of even the most pathetic of pseudocultish organizations.* You've been warned.

Onto less soul-crushing news. This week pretty much wrapped up my LSAT and SAT classes, while also marking the beginning of my GRE and GMAT classes. The student evaluations of my teaching were almost universally excellent, which is a pick-me-up even beyond the effect this will have on my chances of getting a raise. I was amused by the one SAT kid who gave me the highest possible marks on all aspects of my teaching ability, but then said he would never recommend me to his friends.

It's good to see that kids these days know how to artificially manipulate a curve.

Well, this actually turned out to be longer than I'd thought. So, I'll leave you with an IM conversation that you may find amusing, especially if you know one (1) Eric Daza.

Me: my dog is untrustworthy
Me: I decided to let him be uncrated while I ran errands. He managed to get two stuffed animals off of a 5' shelf (remember the bookshelves we built? the second shelf from the top!), and while they were not destroyed, they were damp. Now, he has shown no interest in these animals before this, biding his time.

* At least, that's the only thing I can imagine was going through this guy's -- and did I mention he was 6'5" and about 300 lbs? -- mind. I know what was going through mine:

"What's this guy want?"
"Is he hitting on me?"
"Is he recruiting me for a cult?"
"Why would I want to be in a cult that would have him?"
"Holy shit, he's offering me job."
"Why would I want to work for someone who headhunts in the hobby magazine section of Borders?"
"No, really -- is this guy hitting on me?"
niwandajones: (Default)
Ultimate Roleplaying Purity Score
CategoryYour ScoreAverage
Will kill for XP
Sensitive Roleplaying40.51%
"But what's my motivation for this scene?"
GM Experience78.26%
Ran a module once or twice
Systems Knowledge78.67%
Local rules guru
Livin' La Vida Dorka51.72%
Has interesting conversations in public
You are 62.63% pure
Average Score: 68.2%
niwandajones: (Default)

The first part of a four part JLA/Avengers crossover was recently released. I haven't seen it yet, but it's being written by Kurt Busiek of Astro City fame, and the geekbuzz is generally pleased.


Joe Lieberman seemed to score a few points off of Howard Dean during the recent televised debate in Albuquerque. I'm still not 100% Deanite, and he's still leading the pack... but anything good happening for Lieberman's campaign is potentially awful for America.

I'm still waiting to see if Gen. Wesley Clark will run. I must admit I'm intrigued by the idea of the Democrats running a goddammed general against a hawkish president who used his dad's influence to score a gig in the National Guard, and then skipped out on his term of service.


White Wolf, publishers of the RPGs Vampire: the Masquerade and Werewolf: the Apocalypse, are suing Sony over the new movie Underworld. A press release regarding the suit can be found at
niwandajones: (Default)
Just got back from a whirlwind tour of Virginia yesterday. (I'd have posted something last night, but I had to go teach an LSAT class immediately upon my return, hence my mood.) We left on Sunday, spent most of the time in Richmond visiting Myles and Tovah, and a good part of Monday down in Williamsburg with Margaret and Jeremy. It was, all in all, quite a lot of fun. I was amazed at how much I liked Richmond -- it's a small city with quite a lot of character, and most of it not of the sort you'd expect from the erstwhile capital of the Confederacy. It also has a great FLGS, and a kickin' BBQ place. We'll be returning.

Also arranged to meet with Nick next week. As most of y'all know, we've been talking about this since early summer. It's going down next Tuesday, and I'm pleased to note that there will be one (1) Eric Daza in attendance, from all indicators. I'm actually looking forward to this.

In other news, I had the opportunity to read all eight issues of Joss Whedon's Fray this weekend. I recommend it to all Buffy fans, and heartily. To humans in general, I recommend G.I. Joe vs. The Transformers. My reasons should be self evident.


Aug. 30th, 2003 12:22 am
niwandajones: (Default)
I'm generally pleased with the book access available to us down here in Maryland. My first visit to the local Borders came within a day of my arrival, and I found it very good indeed; I hadn't checked out the local B&N until yesterday, but when I did I discovered that it spiffs nicely as well.

And, of course, our local library is stunning, with a great selection, easy access to interlibrary loans, and an excellent online catalog for account management. I stopped there today, and added the following to the dozen books I've already got checked out:

Rats and Gargoyles, by Mary Gentle
The Urth of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe
Nightside the Long Sun, also by Wolfe
Across the Universe: the DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore

The last of those is only one example of the impressive selection of graphic novels that are available to me, for free. God, I love my library!

(OK, at this point I feel that I'm begging the universe to send some bullies to beat me up for my lunch money. Time to wrap this up.)

Honestly, once I can find a decent used bookstore down here, I'll be utterly content, book-wise. (Well, that and an FLGS beyond the crappy WotC store in the mall, though the Border's RPG section is noteworthy: beyond a ton of varied WW and d20 stuff, it also has things like Children of the Sun). I must admit that Autumn Leaves spoiled me, so I'll ask a lot of any used bookstore I do find.

In any case: books good, bullies bad. G'night folks, I'll be here all week!
niwandajones: (Default)
It occurs to me that I really should take this opportunity to do what my family, friends, and thesis advisors have constantly recommended: write, write, write.

As it stands, I'm running the risk of becoming the blogger that simply posts wacky images with little or no original content. Perhaps even worse, I may become some kind of snide post-modernist parody of such a blogger.

I don't want to be that guy.

But, since I'm really stuck for things to write about today, I'm just gonna post something I wrote a few weeks back. It's a vignette I wrote set in the world of Exalted, White Wolf's stunning RPG in which the players portray demigods reincarnated into a world that's moved past them, but needs them all the more for it. Though the people call you Anathema, you're one of the Chosen few who's puissance and drive can truly reshape the world.

Yes, yes, I know that's kinda WW's shtick: "You're really powerful, but everyone hates you, and you can't do anything about anything! ANGST!" But since Exalted drops the last bit -- the characters are encouraged to go around and beat up the setting (or seduce it, or imprison it in a huge crystal mountain) -- it's got a very different feel.

Yes, I realize that nothing I fear becoming could be worse than someone who writes fanfic for ROLE-PLAYING GAMES.

But, fuck it. Here's the vignette.

Sesus Karnak, like any leader of men, had tried to antcipate what his enemy would bring to bear when they finally met in combat. His enemy was Anathema, and so his musings had ranged far and wide: barbarian hordes, behemoths, automatons.

What he had not expected was a simple covered cart, pulled by a single yeddim.

As the cart pulled to a halt in front of the vanguard of Karnak's legion, the Dynast summoned the courage to ride forward. A Child of the Blessed Isle could do no less -- certainly not while backed by such a force of arms.

Half way between his lines and the cart, Karnak stopped and called out, "Have you come to surrender yourself to the Realm's justice?"

The Anathema had moved to the back of the cart. "No," he called back, picking up a golden bow.

Karnak bristled. "Then why have you come?"

The bowman looked at the Dynast silently. And then he pulled back the cover from the cart, revealing arrows. Thousands of arrows, packed into quivers and boxes and sacks, filling the cart from end to end and sprouting from it like a porcupine's quills.

"I've come to kill your army," spoke the Anathema.

And so it was that Sesus Karnak departed from the Threshold, with his legion's dying screams still echoing in his ears.
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