Monday, November 08, 2021

Back in Print (on Demand)


The Discworld Roleplaying Game
went out of print a while back, but the thing about modern technology is that "Out of Print" no longer means quite what it used to — at least sometimes. The book is now available through Amazon's Print on Demand service — just follow that link.

(I've not seen a copy of this version; it's paperback, of course, and I'll be interested to see what the quality is like.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

First Thoughts on Dune part 1

 Hmm.

Spoilers follow, of course.

I walked out of the cinema moderately impressed, but then I often do. I’m a sucker for ci
nematic techniques, and anyway I’d seen it on IMAX and had just spent two hours being physically assaulted by Hans Zimmer’s score (which is definitely great). But the refrigerator logic hit before I’d even reached the refrigerator.

It looked impressive. The sets and scenery were epically vast. It reminded me of that historical theory about the end-state of all civilisations being stasis and architectural giganticism; every building and spaceship was ten times bigger than it needed to be. But then, equally, the movie itself could be taken as an art film which had succumbed to giganticism.

And dear god, I wish that Villeneuve could find a lighting cameraman or set designer with the guts to to tell him that murky fog isn’t big and isn’t clever. The murk was appropriate in Arrival, but neither Blade Runner nor this needed so much of it.

And then I was reminded of my personal response to some of the Harry Potter films. I should explain that I’ve never read the Harry Potter books, so I came out of the later movies especially thinking “well, there was clearly a story in there, but blowed if I know what it was” — but the people who went in knowing the story generally enjoyed it. Call me literal-minded, but I feel that an adaptation of a book should be more than a set of illustrations of scenes from that book.

And there was certainly a lot squeezed out from the book. Sometimes that’s necessary, but the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment when Thufir Hawat’s eyeballs turn white as he does some mental arithmetic suggest that mentats were supposed to be in there, but had ended up on the cutting room floor. Couldn’t they just have cut half an hour or so of Timothy Chalamet looking slightly angsty? Losing the idea of mentats just turned Hawat into an all-purpose bureaucrat, and also made Yueh’s attempted revenge and Leto’s death scene less interesting and plot-useful — because by killing the Harkonnen mentat, you set up Hawat’s move into his position for the second half of the plot (and grant Yueh some posthumous revenge).

(Losing the stuff about Yueh’s psychological conditioning also deprived the Harkonnens of some Evil Schemer points, and makes the Atreides look a bit incompetent in having defences that can be brought down by one undetected traitor. But then, “unbreakable conditioning” that could be broken by the baddies pulling the age old “we have your wife, bwah-hah-hah” tactic never made sense to me, so whatever.)

A lot of what felt off to me may be patched in part two. We’ll see. But that would make part two a very different film to part one, so I suspect we’ll mostly get murky fog and Timothy Chalamet looking vaguely angsty. Or maybe there’ll be a five hour director’s cut with all the Herbertian politics back in.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Unleashing Osiris (for just $3)

The latest Steve Jackson Games GURPS Kickstarter project again offers the possibility of acquiring a PDF of my creation -- in this case, GURPS Infinite Worlds: The Osiris Worlds, a brief collection of alternate history settings centered on alternate versions of Ancient Egypt. Actually, it offers the definite possibility of getting twelve GURPS mini-supplements for just $3, if you act in the next few days.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Twelve Towers and Turrets

 

Just for the interest, I recently made a small addition to my very small collection of personal works on DriveThrough RPG; specifically, A Dozen Castle Images is mostly what it says - twelve full-colour pictures of castles (processed photographs, to be precise), large enough to show to players (especially perhaps on-screen while playing by video) and each with a brief note including some ideas for game events and plots.


So that's a bunch of generic, illustrated game ideas for just one dollar...

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Kicked to Start

I find myself on Kickstarter for the first time. Sort of.

Steve Jackson Games are currently running a Kickstarter promotion in which a bunch of short PDFs are made available to anyone who backs it -- exactly how many depends on how much the Kickstarter raises, but it's currently nine, and will probably rise to twelve by the time things are done. And one of the nine is my "Broken Clockwork World" steampunk setting.

And the good news is that one can get this material for just $3. (There are also larger backer levels which add other GURPS material in PDF form, making this a good deal for anyone who wants to buy a bunch of such stuff.) So if anyone is interested in any of this, the cost really is quite negligible.

The URL for this is https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/warehouse23/steve-jackson-games-gurps-2020-pdf-challenge .

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Expand, Contract (57)

Just briefly - the final draft of my little (okay, not that little) project for Pelgrane Press has gone in and been accepted, so now it's out of my hands. It may even see literal, physical print in due course, which always feels nice. Nothing against PDFs, but they're weightless.

So now, well, there's so scenarios to work on that should in due course see use at conventions (yes, initially online conventions, I had noticed the state of the world). Then it's over to the project for Iron Crown...

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Blast From My Past

Back in the '80s, I was a big fan of the Champions roleplaying game from Hero Games, which is why my first published RPG book, at the end of that decade, was Kingdom of Champions. While I went on to work for other publishers, I did a bit more for Hero over the next few years, and I've been quite pleased to note that the books in question have in recent years started to be republished in PDF form.
Well, if anyone is interested in seeing both what caught my attention back then and what I did for Hero, now's your chance to get there on a budget. Bundle of Holding are currently running a pair of really generous Fourth Edition Champions bundle deals which include my work for Hero and much more. If you stump up $35.19 or more for the Champions 4E Universe bundle, you get, well, quite a lot of books, but the list includes Kingdom of Champions and also Champions Universe, to which I contributed quite a bit of material including an extended scenario (and the bundle also includes things like the classic multi-universal Champions in 3-D, and the quite unique Foxbat Unhinged, by my late friend Alison Brooks). But you might want to start with the Champions 4E Essentials bundle; drop $30.35 on that and you'll get not only the Champions core rulebook but also Champions Presents 1, to which I contributed an adventure, and The Hero System Almanac 2, which includes my treatment of the UNTIL agency. Along with a lot else, of course.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Expand, Contract (56)

I now have a new short-ish GURPS PDF up on Warehouse 23:

GURPS Vehicles: Transports of Fantasy

(Yeah, it seems to have been a little while. Been doing other things. Still, I’m quite fond of this one, even at just 32 pages.)

Friday, August 02, 2019

Scenes From a Multiverse

I very much doubt that what passes for my social media activity influences anybody, but in case anyone could use it pointed out - there's a Kickstarter for a print volume 3 of Scenes from a Multiverse currently running and in need of a little love. And I'd really like for it to succeed.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Expand, Contract (55)

GURPS Steampunk 3: Soldiers and Scientists

http://www.warehouse23.com/products/gurps-steampunk-3-soldiers-and-scientists

Which completes the starting set of GURPS 4th edition steampunk PDFs (along with 1 and 2 and Conveyances); to put it another way, put those four books together and you'd have approximately the book I'd have written if SJ Games had been willing to do a new-edition GURPS Steampunk.

This one is the characters book, which means a lot of templates, but I tried to add more interest with variant skills and disadvantages and martial arts styles and so on.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Holding Out

The latest Bundle of Holding, "Bundle of FATE 4", includes my own The Small Folk:
There's some other stuff in there looks quite interesting, too.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Expand, Contract (54)

GURPS Steampunk 2: Steam and Shellfire:

http://www.warehouse23.com/products/gurps-steampunk-2-steam-and-shellfire

The latest in the little line of steampunk supplements I’m doing for SJGames, and oh so very much the highly necessary gear book.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Sound

I was at Athena Games, in Norwich, the other weekend, running some Discworld demonstrations at their fifth anniversary event (nice people), and while I was there, the Draw & Discard podcast interviewed me.