Showing posts from December, 2013

Looking Back on the 1990s

With the lights out, it's less dangerous Here we are now, entertain us I feel stupid and contagious Here we are now, entertain us - Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit", 1991. "No one holds command over me. No man. No god. No Prince. What is a claim of age for ones who are immortal? What is a claim of power for ones who defy death? Call your damnable hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming to hell with me." "A Beast I am, lest a Beast I become." - Vampire: The Masquerade, 1991. I've mentioned in this blog that I'm very much a child of the 1980's, being born in 1971. However, I became an adult in the 1990's. I went off to college in fall of 1989 so the great bulk of my undergraduate career was in the 1990's. I had my first serious relationship in the 90's, met my wife a mere month before graduation (on an evening dedicated to forgetting about women), began my professional career in the

Introductions to Doctor Who and Avoiding the Info Dump

About a month ago I was watching the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special "Day of the Doctor". Jasmine, my eight-year old daughter, wound up joining me and watching most of it - she didn't quite get it having only a vague idea as to what it was about but she still couldn't pull her eyes away. She had a ton of questions and I promised her I'd watch an episode with her that made no assumptions on experience. Yesterday Jasmine and I watched "Rose", the first episode of the new series. She absolutely loved it. And the format was, of course, perfect. You've got an established franchise but you are relaunching it after a long dormancy. There's some die-hard fans out there who will be watching it but you need to go far beyond that fan-base. So you start with a viewpoint character who is a surrogate for this audience. And you don't dump all the history and lore of the program all at once. Instead you release it as you need to. Jasmine liked i

Heroism in the Cthulhu Mythos

We recently finished a Call of Cthulhu scenario in my group (we'd been playing ACKS but we needed something with a bit of a lower quorum threshold - decided to whip out that old favorite Cthulhu to see how it worked out). Having played The Haunting  scenario with this group we played another of the classic adventures, The Edge of Darkness . I'm not going to go into spoiler territory, suffice to say it provides ample opportunities for investigators to meet horrible end. In our playing of it there was one PC death and many more were avoided by making some difficult, at times brutal decisions, including going up against police in order to be able to succeed in a ceremony to banish an eldritch abomination - one of those "for the greater good" circumstances. I've heard Call of Cthulhu described as a non-heroic game and when you think about more over-the-top superhero and pulp games I can definitely see the point. The premise of the Cthulhu Mythos is that of an un

Fiction Review - "The Long Tomorrow" by Leigh Brackett

"No city, no town, no community of more than one thousand people or two hundred buildings to the square mile, shall be built or permitted to exist anywhere in the United States of America." - 30th Amendment of the United States Constitution As I've mentioned in my blog a few times, the post-apocalyptic genre is one that filled me with feelings of both dread and fascination as I grew up. Born in the early 70s I became aware of my world in the era of "Ronnie Rambo" and the Cold War heating up one final time. I remember playing the Gamma World Role Playing Game with our primitive mutants exploring the ruins of Pitz Burke. There were films set after the End, ranging from the "Mad Max" series to absolutely dreadful movies like "Threads" and "The Day After". (And I use "dreadful" not in the sense of a bad movie but rather an experience that can fill one with actual dread.) However there is still the sense of fascinatio