Saturday, October 29, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
We spend a lot of time talking about maps and mazes, but we rarely think about what it might actually feel to be a dungeon explorer. These photos of London's forgotten river do an amazing job of conveying what it might feel like to actually explore dark tunnels below the earth.
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
Thursday, October 20, 2011
AFfC is going to present an interesting challenge for HBO methinks. There is very little action and almost all of the major characters are dead(ish) or abscent. The world has become a bit bogged down in its own weight and the major impression I was left with was the endless listing of knights and lordlings (that I am sorry to say I skimmed the bulked of). We get a short but tantalizing glimpse of Arya's future, a long and mainly pointless search from Brienne and the continuation of Jaime's redemption. In the place of the characters we have spent years getting to know and care about, we get major diversions into the Iron Isles, Dorne and a fascinating glimpse into what makes Cersei tick (anyone else think she 'helped' her childhood companion into that well?), but she never becomes sympathetic the way Jaime has. Given that GRRM has had five years and a butload of (well earned) cash from HBO, I'm dearly hoping that these threads start to weave together soon.
Given the fickle finger of the viewing public (fantasy is hot right now, but if they keep producing drek like Camelot, it won't be for long) and the series makes it that far, could HBO keep the muggles interested with a TV season without so much as a hint of Tyrion, Jon or Dany? My bet is that they blend the two books.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
They are all characters from 'the real world' who, for various reasons, find themselves in a strange new world.
It is a trope that is used a lot in fiction, but not one that is used often in roleplaying games (the only one I can think of offhand is 'Earthdawn').
The problem with well know roleplaying games (Star Wars, Krynn, WoW) is that the players often know as much, if not more than the gamemaster. The problem with homebrew worlds is that the players have to know something, which can result in an enthusiastic gamemaster infodumping for an hour, or prepping pdfs, or wikis that no one really reads, anyway.
The way around it is the Stranger in a Strange Land method. Let the players make a character from a system they are familiar with and then (via wormhole, time travel, magic hubcap etc) have them transported into a strange new world. (I did something similar once where I lead a party of D&D characters through a witchgate into Talislanta). I really like this idea and am going to work on formalizing it in Extinction Level Event.
*In Order: John Carter of Mars, Miles Monroe of 'Sleeper', the children of “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’, Joel of ‘MST3K’, Neo of ‘The Matrix’ and John Crichton of “Farscape’.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Three Headed Giant“
All right, all right, all right. We'll kill him first and then have tea and biscuits.”
In the dark northern forests of Ewing lives the fearsome Three Headed Giant. Standing almost ten feet tall, he slaughters any knight who dares pass through his realm.
The giant was once three knights who plotted together to overthrow their Lord. When they failed, they were cursed by the Lord’s wizard and transformed into a monster. The punishment backfired when the now insane giant slaughtered the Lord and his household. He now lives in the ruins of the old castle, sipping tea from giant cups and ventures forth only to slaughter travellers who dare cross his lands, or any knight who would dare try to make a name for himself by ridding the dark woods of the giant’s reign and reclaiming the castle for themselves. Despite the danger, there are a few small villages in the woods. The giant tends to ignore the peasants provided they keep him well supplied with tea and biscuits. This makes the Ewing woods an ideal place for people like Dennis.
With his six foot greatsword and massive lance that is capable of impaling three men like a shish-kabob, the giant is virtually unstoppable in battle. Fortunately, the giant’s three heads rarely agree on anything besides killing and tea (but not biscuits), and if they can be goaded into arguing between themselves, it is quite easy to sneak away.
Accoutrements: the giant lives in a large castle that is quickly going to ruin. In the meantime, he has access to all the stores that remain. There are rumours of a vast storeroom below the castle filled with gold and silver, though no one has ever been able to confirm the story.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Setting: Super Slave Market
Plot: Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion
Narrative Device: Index All Along
Hero: Part-time Hero
Villain: Evil Sorcerer
Character As Device: Pretty Boy
Characterization Device: Fiery Redhead
Friday, October 7, 2011
When did everyone get so passive? Catelyn's story was never exactly enthralling, though rereading the series it's frightening to see just how much of what happens is her fault, starting with her ill-advised capture of Tyrion. After that her story gradually gets more depressing than Russian poetry. By SoS whenever a chapter with her name comes up, I just grit my teeth and think of England.
But Cat was always meant to be a tragic heroine. Bran is a cripple learning that he has other skills. Sansa is a way to see what is happening at King's Landing. Those characters I understand being passive. But in SoS, some of the most proactive and interesting characters become little more than observers while others move them around like chess pieces. Davros is rescued but under the thrall of Stannis and Melisandre. Jaime is maimed and captured. Arya is being shuffled around for no obvious purpose but to show what happened to the Lightning Lord and get her ready to be shipped off for Braavos. Jon is a unwilling wildling now and being carried along by Manse's army. And even everyone's favourite conniving little imp, Tyrion is being mowed under by his father (though we know how that turns out). Out of all the POV characters, Daenerys is the only who seems to be actually DOING anything.
It's the beginning of the middle of the series and I understand the need to move the characters around to where they need to be, but did it really need 1078 pages (on my ereader)?
But who am I to criticize? I'm still enjoying the series and so are a lot of other people (it has to be the best selling series since Harry Potter). Still at 600 pages in, I can't help but wish somebody would start to do something already. It will be interesting to see how they translate this one into a TV series.