Monthly Archives: September 2011

GamerGrrl tip for getting people to sign up to your con game: give it a catchy and intriguing title.

QAGS System Game - Laser PoniesI don’t know about you, but I think Laser Ponies in Wonderland – Down the Rabbit Hole, does just that.  I know if I saw that sign-up sheet hanging on the board, I’d put my name on it!

So yes, one of the games I’ll be running at ConceptionUk will be Laser Ponies by Hex Games.  I’ve been sitting on this particular little gem for about 2 years now, after a friend jokingly told me about it.  This is the description at DriveThru RPG:

Feel the Pony Power! On a faraway magical world, in the heart of Glitter Valley, there lives a tribe of beautiful creatures known as the Laser Ponies. These ponies romp, frolic, and play. And, when they need to, they shoot lasers out of their eyes. Only the Laser Ponies can defend their valley, and all the creatures in it, from the evil Chasm Queen and her army of monsters.

Laser Ponies is the Saturday morning cartoon you always wanted to see, filled with magic, wonder, and adventure, without the cheap animation or commercial breaks.

Laser Ponies is for girls and boys alike, and is the first all-ages role-playing game from Hex Games. It uses the QAGS system, but you do not have to own the QAGS rulebook-the QAGS Qik Start rules, which tell you everything you need to know to play the game, are included in the back of the book. Also included are rules for Pony Power, 40 story ideas, sample characters, illustrations by up-and-coming young artist Katie Staffiera, and a character sheet.

For a whopping $1.99, that was enough to sell me.  Laser Ponies is a RPG that was created for kids, but with a little imagination and a lot of liquor, I think this will be tons of fun for adults.  The character sheets are drawn in crayon style, like a child did it and the system couldn’t be simpler.  Combine that with Alice in Wonderland and catch them hook, line and sinker with “down the rabbit hole” and what could possibly go wrong?! Knowing gamers, a lot!

I think this is going to be just as fun to run as it is to write!

I’m an avid reader.  Usually my drug of choice is along the fantasy line, but years ago when I worked in Florida a roommate turned me on to this hilarious series about a dysfunctional bounty hunter called Stephanie Plum.  The first book, One for the Money, is due to come out as a movie in January 2012.

In the first book (or as much as I can remember), Stephanie is divorced after she caught her hubby boinking Joyce Barnhardt on their wedding night.  She’s freshly unemployed as a lingerie buyer and looking for a job.  Being from the Berg (in New Jersey) her mom wants her to get a nice job at the button factory and find a nice boy to marry, but Stephanie ends up blackmailing her scum bag, duck fucking, cousin into giving her a job as a bounty hunter.

Let me just say, Stephanie Plum is the WORST bounty hunter ever.  I’ve lost count of car fatalities by book 17.  I’ve also lost count of how many enemies she’s managed to gain and how many odd situations she’s found herself in.  But there’s always a few solid truths through the books.  Ranger and Morelli (the two guys in her life) will always be there as will the Buick that she ends up driving after she blows up, wrecks, or otherwise destroys yet another car.

So the point of this post…Stephanie Plum is due to debut on the big screen.  As a long time fan of Stephanie Plum, I’m not sure how I feel about the cast.  I’m not impressed by Katherine Heigl as Stephanie Plum.  She’s not pudgy at all and she doesn’t wear jeans and t-shirts like Stephanie does in the books.  Jason O’Mara as Joe Morelli, the bad boy italian American turned cop? Mmmm….not exactly how I pictured Morelli.  Daniel Sunjata as Ranger? In the books, Ranger (a Cuban American) just oozes bad boy sex appeal.  There’s scenes in the books so steamy that you have to wonder, who needs romance novels? But Daniel Sunjata? To me, he doesn’t ooze sex appeal at all.

Ok, so I can probably buy the Stephanie Plum, Joe Morelli, and Ranger characters but there is one that I absolutely can’t buy into.  No way, no how.  Who is that? None other than Grandma Mazur.

In the books Stephanie describes Grandma Mazur as this little scrawny woman with skin that covers her bones much like old, cracked, worn leather covers a couch from the 50′s.  However, in the movie, Grandma Mazur (played by Debbie Reynolds) doesn’t look like she has a foot in the grave.  She doesn’t look like the wiry, spunky firecracker described in the books.  She looks entirely too healthy and I’m sorry, sane.

Because of my love of this series, the Dutchie and I will go and watch the movie whenever it ends up in our theaters (it’s premiering in January in the states, will probably be July by the time it gets here.  Bless Hollywood and their squabbles over royalties and copyrights in the 21st centuary).  And we will leave disappointed.  Until then, we are looking forward to Explosive Eighteen, the 18th book in the series due out in November.

While I started out strong, I admit my posts have slacked off for the month of August.  My apologies.

For those of you who do the convention circuit, as a DM, you know how much work and preparation goes into your con scenarios.  This is on top of your day job, working out, free time with the family, and any other RPGs you either play in or run.

In May, for the Dutchie’s birthday present, his parents got him a ceramic Descent board.  It’s actually pretty freakin awesome, except it has to be painted.  He’s been working on the main tiles and I’ve been working on the plastic miniatures that actually come with the board game.  Plus I just got through painting the ceramic doors last week.

On top of the Descent stuff, I’ve got to decide what I’m going to run myself.  More than likely I will be running the Paranoia scenario that I developed for the 2011 Conception, The Trouble with Water.  Then I want to do an Alice in Wonderland theme of Paranoia called Alice in Alpha Complex.  I’ll probably do a Necessary Evil one shot since it seems to be in demand, and I’m honestly considering Laser Ponies in Wonderland.  Yea, I got the Wonderland thing going on.

Something I did in January that I’m really considering doing again for 2012 is running a session of the bi-weekly Darkages campaign I’ve been DMing (or Storytelling if you like).  This year 2 of my players were at Conception, but one of the two characters had died in an almost TPK (total player kill) so he didn’t have a new character yet.  He got to play someone trying to kill the surviving character and then there were 2 other characters played by strangers that were supposed to help him finish what he was supposed to do, kill a demon.

What kind of sucked for him, but was loads of fun for me, was if his character died at Conception, he’d have to roll a new one when we returned to the Netherlands.  Don’t worry, he survived.  In fact, he’s still surviving.  For some reason I just can’t kill him off.

But for 2012 there will be 3 players in my bi-weekly game so I might just run a session with them +1-3 strangers.  It really depends on where they are in the world by then, since at the moment they’re in Rome (and I suppose it depends if anyone bothered to put some dots in etiquette since tomorrow they’re introducing themselves to the prince!).

So that’s what I’m doing, preparing for Conception UK! As I write my scenarios.

I was reading the news today when a particular article titled Your Virtual Cow Could be Worth $0.  This is in reference to Google shutting down one of its Facebook games called SuperPoke! Pets.

Now, I’m not exactly a stranger to games that have virtual stores where you can buy cute things and in game advantages with real money.  I’ve never personally bought items for real cash (aside from MMO subscriptions, but I view that as more as paying to play the game), but I know people who have.  In fact, funny enough, the company I work for has a scheme set up that allows members to buy points (that you can also earn for free) in order to buy things now instead of having to wait until you can earn them.  Every day we get notices that a member has purchased a point package…so there’s something to this particular business model that appeals to the masses.

However, the question that’s being asked is what happens to your virtual items when a company decides to close down a game?

This is a good question to ask because it’s not only Facebook and web based type games that have this real cash for virtual goods business model.  Years ago SOE introduced the Everquest Marketplace where players could buy items with Station Cash.  Mostly this is flavor type stuff, clothing, stuff to change appearance, or in house items (for EQ2).  Later they started introducing character transfer tokens (allowed you to move servers), experience potions, and other items that affect in game play.  If Station Cash or Everquest (1 or 2) were ever to fold, I’m pretty sure all the virtual goodies players bought would go the same way as their characters.  It’s kind of buyer beware.

Then of course there’s all sorts of free to play MMOs popping up where you have to pay to advance levels, gain new skills, get awesome equipment and whatnot.  What happens when those games fold? Is it the same as a subscription based game folding or does the companies owe players something for the investment? How about companies that let you buy games and play them virtually like Steam? Do they owe you something when they fold, especially after you’ve forked over $50 for the new CoD or American McGee’s Alice?

Personally, I don’t think Google owes their players anything.  You have to know the risk when you pay real money to invest in something virtual be it an in game item, credits, or even a subscription for an MMO.  When you fork over your $20 for your 100 gold points, you’re paying for the pleasure of getting that gold now.  Tomorrow it could be gone with a server crash or a changed business model of the company that just bought your beloved game.  It’s that age old saying that comes into play…buyer beware.

 

 

Tonight I watched a trailer from Pain for a new single they’re releasing on the 12th of this month.  I saw an interesting video titled Dirty Woman, a song off Pain’s new album but the figure wasn’t Peter nor any other Pain band members.  So I clicked on it.  Nope, not Pain but not bad either.  I scroll down and look through the comments and someone said it’s a band called Lord of the Lost and the song is called Sex on Legs.

First thing that hits is character inspiration.  At about 16 seconds there’s 7 people that could easily be straight from Vampire the Masquerade.  Then I decide to look up the band.  I went for the official site since their wiki page is all in German, and my German isn’t too terribly hot.  Unfortunately, their official site doesn’t have much more info than their tour dates (hmmm, I do see they’re playing Bremen on October 5th…) but I can tell from wiki they’re a 2007 German “dark rock” music group.  The singer and frontman is a guy named Chris Harms and it’s inspiration comes from HIM and Rammstein.

Evidently they have 2 albums, one from 2010 called Fears and the other from this year (2011) called Antagony.

Go ahead and listen to Sex on Legs and see if you’re going to join me in adding more music to your mp3 device!

I love that my hobbies and interests are becoming more and more mainstream.  I appreciate the fact that the more people who take an interest in gaming, costuming, cosplay, and the like means more companies, publishers, and freelancers will dedicate their time to making more resources for the things that I love.  So it always warms my heart when I see articles like Geek Out on CNN.

What I don’t appreciate so much is the people who comment on articles like this.  It seems that being a geek or a nerd is still a bad thing in the US.  When someone hears the word “gamer” or finds out about an event where adults go to great lengths to dress up like Storm Troopers or their favorite video game hero or villain, there’s suddenly something wrong with that individual.  How is dressing up and going to Dragon*Con any different than someone going to a bar, getting drunk and making an ass of themselves? The answer is, it’s not and those of us that game, cosplay, or larp are perfectly capable of being silly without any outside influences.  The plus is we’re probably going to remember it and have some remarkable stories to tell at future geek events.

Here are some of the negative comments that were made about CNN’s feature on the Dragon*Con parade:

Well, I guess you have to do something with your time when Mom chases you out of her basement on laundry day.

Way to insult many of your readers, CNN. Calling people “geeks” or “nerds” is not only alienating and derogatory, it’s just plain rude. I’m damn tired of having to hear these words so openly used and I refuse to allow it in my presence.

What the hell is security like for one of these things? I mean, honestly, with everyone in costume, it’s like let’s play find the terrorist.Yes, Mike, but in this case WonderWoman is 45 and 300lbs.

But, my fellow geeks came through and here’s some that made me spit my coffee out:

Sorry you find it offensive, myself, I am proud to call myself a Geek and a Nerd. I will make a suggestion for you. Take the Microprocessor out of your bum and learn to relax.

I beg your pardon. I am NOT a LOSER. I’m just a stormtrooper stuck between jobs right now.Seriously? My spouse and I are PhD scientists, our kids are going into engineering. My daughter just made a wolverine claw for fun. On a Friday night, lol. We all call ourselves geeks and nerds. Our likeminded friends do too. (note…I WANT a wolverine claw damnit!)

And I’m offended that you’re offended that he’s offended. No wait, I don’t care. PhD scientists dressed as stormtroopers. I bet the sex is great! p.s. I’ll be very offended if you aren’t offended by that.

With all this being said, it’s the perfect time to invite everyone to the Speak Out with your Geek Out event that’s going to be held between September 12th and 16th.  In very short words, this will be a great opportunity for you and I to let those people who left their inner child at the door know why we love the games and hobbies that we do!

 

Meet my current Vampire the Masquerade Character…Kali.

This isn’t the first time I’ve played this character.  The first time around was in an all Tremere dark ages campaign.  She was 7th generation, embraced as an 11 year old, and she had the Cappadocian discipline of Mortis due to the fact that both the Tremere and Cappadocians were battling to be the first to embrace her.  It was just that the Cappadocians were trying to wait until she was a little older before doing the deed…the Tremere had no such hang-ups.

Kali 2.0 has some of the same idea of Kali 1.0, but she’s vastly different as well.  Like the first version, Kali was born an “avatar” of the Hindu goddess Kali.  That’s pretty much where the similarities end, partly because I wanted an in depth character background and partly to fit the rules of the running campaign.  So, without further ado, here’s Kali:

Name: Kali
Nature: Sage
Demeanor: Conformist
Clan: Tremere
Generation: 8th

Attributes

Strength: 1          Charisma: 3          Perception: 4
Dexterity: 3        Manipulation: 5   Intelligence: 4
Stamina: 2          Appearance: 2      Wits: 3

Abilities

Alertness: 4           Etiquette: 1            Academics: 2
Dodge: 3                Firearms: 1             Linguistics: 3
Empathy: 3           Melee: 1                   Medicine: 1
Intimidation: 3    Performance: 1       Occult: 5
Leadership: 3       Stealth: 2
Subterfuge: 3

Secondary Skills: History (5), Fortune Telling (5), Sense Deception (4)

Disciplines

Auspex: 4
Dominate: 3
Thaumaturgy (main): 5
Thaumaturgy (secondary 1): 2
Thaumaturgy (secondary 2): 3
Fortitude: 1

Backgrounds

Generation: 5
Status: 3

Virtues (Path of Humanity)

Consience: 3
Self-Control: 3
Courage: 4

Willpower

Currently at 8 due to spending 2 permanent to make sure something succeeded.

Now, this isn’t all of Kali but I need to get running, literally.  When I have some time later today or tomorrow I’ll list her flaws which is a literal laundry list.  The current DM doesn’t mind us taking as many as we want and I think Kali had 57 points worth at some point.  She’s managed to add a few more during game play as well!