About this blog

This is the official blog of Phoenix Roleplaying, a multi-genre simming site, created in August 2010.

Run by the players, we hope to achieve great things.

Where our journey takes us, who knows.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Interview with Silent Hunter

Phoenix's first elected GC Ash Leighton Plom interviews the redoubtable Silent Hunter

It's my pleasure to be here with the administrator of this very blog, the one and only Silent Hunter. You know him from his writings, his characters, and his finely realised sim concepts. But what about the man behind the alias? This blog post tells you more!


Q: Let's start with a few ice-breakers. Circle or square?


A: Circles. They're easier to hold.


Q: Fairy lights; white, or multi-coloured?


A: Multi-coloured, of course. Ideally flashing on variable patterns.


Q: And finally, what is the airspeed velocity of a laden swallow?


A: African or European?


Q: Very nice. Now time for the serious stuff. You're probably currently best known as a prolific sim creator, running sims set in widely diverse genres. What gives you your inspiration when creating sim concepts?


A: A lot of things really. I'm an avid consumer of fiction, particularly cop shows and techno-thrillers. Some things I read in the news also give me ideas. For example, Sierra Charlie Four owes a fair bit of inspiration to the now-ended ITV1 cop drama The Bill.


Q: To what extent does RL inform your sim creations?


A: It depends on the sim. I try to use RL geography and history where possible. In my more contemporary sims, namely the British policing sim Sierra Charlie Four and my planned naval/aviation sim Carrier, I pay a good amount of attention to developments in those respective worlds. There's a lot of procedural stuff that's important for the realism of Sierra Charlie Four, as well as the impact of spending cuts and an increasingly globalised world. There are some developments in the latter that will be of great importance to the story; China's carriers, Russia's stealth aircraft, Iranian ballistic missiles…


My "historical" sims stick as closely to the historical background as I can, although I admit I do make mistakes. At the end of the day, one should not let the facts get in the way of a good story. ;-)
The Triple First is far looser; Doctor Who is far more a fantasy show than some of my more original concepts. Kvant, my Firefly sim, will owe some stuff to RL military organisation.


Q: You're also known for playing a large number of characters. Tell us a little about the genesis of some of these favourites.


A: OK, I'll pick three – Sue Ling, Romana VI and Samuel Arkwright.


With many of my characters, I tend to take an actor and create a character around them. Sue Ling is an example of that. Created to fill the rather undermanned Fire Team on Atlantis, she was inspired by Renee Felice Smith, who plays Nell Jones on NCIS: Los Angeles. I found the character so quirky that it inspired me to create another character. The name came from another female gunslinger, Soolin from the cult British science-fiction series Blake's 7. The concept of the character itself – rich girl runs away to become a merc – was inspired by Domino Harvey, a female bounty hunter who was the subject of the film Domino (which I haven't actually seen). I wanted a character who was still wide-eyed and innocent, to be gradually broken down by the business.


Romana VI, from The Triple First, is somewhat different. Romana is my favourite companion in Doctor Who and as a Time Lord, she seemed an obvious character to use in a sim. Conscious of the "rules" about canon characters; I bent them by creating a new incarnation. In a way, Romana is intended to be the "opposite" of the Eleventh Doctor. Matt Smith's Doctor has been described as "an old man in a young man's body" and I decided to reverse that. The Valley Girl persona was taking a classic fictional stereotype and turning it on its head a little – she may appear dumb but it's a front. I actually had intense difficulty choosing an actor for her.


Samuel Arkwright, who will be appearing in Kvant, is actually a fairly long standing character of mine; he first turned up as a Royal Marines officer several years ago in another work. He's evolved since then and is now a hardened veteran of the U-War, with a few ships after that. He was my first character at our old home. I made him a caring man, who knows the value of loyalty, but also decency; he attempted to instigate a mutiny on his old ship when his CO murdered a Dockmaster. His wife died in the war, so he knows its cost. He's now settled for "stability" in his old age; he's gained a company command in The Eagles of Warsaw. His actor, Serge Soric, makes fairly frequent appearances in British cop shows; using a Slavic actor was part of my vision of a future where names are longer limited to one ethnicity.


Q: How do you keep your various characters distinct and individual? How much interplay is there between your characters and your actual self?
I use pretty broad brushes to begin with and then work from there. A good memory helps to keep them distinct.
There's actually fairly little interplay between them and my RL self. I can't shoot straight if my life depended on it. That said, I may appear as a politician in the near future.


Q: Which brings us neatly to another facet of the legend that is Silent Hunter! Some have called your political career in the old country fractious, while others would say it was characterised by compassionate activism for members against tyranny. What motivates you politically, and how do you decide when and how to act? Where do you draw the lines?


A: Well, I'm active-ish in RL politics; being a member of the Labour Party. I'm motivated by a desire to see justice done. I don't really have a set of fixed criteria about when to act and when not to act; it's kind of personal feeling. However, I have a fairly strict moral code and there are certain behaviours that I will not do. I generally try to avoid deliberate violations of site rules. If I can't win a political struggle on a site fairly and the struggle is impacting RL (as happened in the old country), it's probably best for me to go.


Q: Speaking for myself, I believe your contributions will always be welcome in Phoenix RP. Thank you for your time and for your answers!
And a happy New Year from me to all our readers.
- Ashley Leighton Plom

Friday, 24 December 2010

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Phoenix Roleplaying on SimEnc

We now have an entry on the Simming League encyclopedia.

Created by Alliance Building Officer Robert Longtin, a presence in the Simming League should help boost the profile of this nascent RPing site and increase our membership.

Thanks Rob!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Coming soon to Phoenix Roleplaying: Set Europe Ablaze

The flak flashes in the distance. It's not aimed at you, but the other poor guys heading for the Ruhr. If things go wrong, not for you the flames of a burning Lancaster.

As your Lysander flies low over the French coast, you remember the code words and who you're supposed to meet. The radio in your bag could save your life - or end it.

You know your mission, you have your supplies. In an hour you will be there. You will meet people ready to die on their feet rather than live on their knees. You will meet some of the most evil people ever to have lived. Your life and the lives of thousands of others will depend on telling them apart.

It's January 1944 and the Prime Minister's instructions are clear. Your mission - Set Europe Ablaze.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Interview with Robert Longtin

Q: I’m here with Robert Longtin, our recently elected Election Coordinator and creator of one of our new sims, The Witcher.

So, Robert, tell me a little about yourself.

A: Well I'm from Hamburg, New York. I'm in college for Mathematics Education, but I already have a BA in Mathematics. And I'm very fond of gaming in all its forms: tabletop/LARP, online post-and-reply, and video gaming.

Q: So, who or what is The Witcher?

A: The Witcher refers to both a single character and a group of people. Witchers are alchemically mutated human men (as it currently stands there has never been a female Witcher, at least none that I can find apart from Ciri who only went through the training, not the treatments). Witchers train in the arts of both physical and magical combat to defeat monsters. They have vast resources in both knowledge and training specifically for this task, and there are few others that can or generally do slay monsters. Geralt of Rivia is The Witcher, the main character from the books and the games and is a member of a small group of Witchers hidden in Kaer Morhen, a secret keep far from the rest of civilization.

Q: Which books and games would these be? Would I have heard of them?

A: If you haven't heard of the The Witcher, then you wouldn't have heard of the computer game which carries the same name. The books on the other hand, at least the ones translated to English, are called The Last Wish and Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski. Both books follow the story of Geralt of Rivia, but Blood of Elves is the first in a Saga which has already been released in Poland, but the next book is supposed to be released in English next year. The Last Wish is the first book as far as timeline is concerned. The next book is not Blood of Elves but rather Sword of Destiny which has not been released in English as far as I know, but having read The Last Wish followed by Blood of Elves I wouldn't say anything was missing, apart from the rest of the Saga of course, which I am looking forward to. The Sequel to the computer game, The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings is set to release in this coming May and I would recommend checking out the E3 Trailer Online, this game is going to be big, far bigger than the last one. It picks up where the story of the last game left off, but from what I can tell you won't need to be well versed in The Witcher to get into the new game since the story in the new game involves a plot twist that has not yet been introduced via The Witcher to the English-speaking world. I'll be pre-ordering it soon.

Q: So, please tell me a little about the universe of these games.

A: Well to start I suppose I've told you enough about The Witcher, so I'll tell you a little bit about the history. The realm in which the stories take place is generally referred to as the Northern Kingdoms which is between a third and a fourth of what was once the Empire of Nilfgaard. What was once a massive Elven Empire, Nilfgaard was conquered by humans coming from across the sea many years ago. Intolerant of the humans who took their lands, most Elves retreated to remote areas and avoid contact with the humans, while some few Elves embrace the humans along with the Dwarves, Gnomes, and Halflings.

The world as it seems is run by humans, with the exception that mages and sorceresses who play a major role in politics have mixed human and elven blood. However not too long ago, the Elves reappeared and reclaimed land in the south from the humans, mercilessly slaughtering humans whether knight or peasant. Though a tense stalemate, the rest of the Northern Kingdoms remains relatively untouched apart from a rogue group of non-human bandits who call themselves The Scoia'tael, or "The Squirrels". That pretty much sums up the events to date as far as The Witcher is concerned.

For some time the Northern Kingdoms suffered monsters, vicious beasts both magical and non-magical that terrorized the lands both within and beyond castle walls. This is where Witchers found their calling - slaying the beast and collecting the reward. They often travel between cities, visiting anyone who has work and accepting the offers that were attractive enough.

Q: Sounds interesting. So what’s this particular sim about?

A: This Sim takes place before the resurgence of Elves in the Northern Kingdoms. I can't reveal too much, but essentially the major plot element is that a local Lord is assembling a group of mercenaries, Alchemists, Mages/Sorceresses, and Witchers to eradicate the nearby monsters for expansion and safety. Were it just a group of mercenaries, or just one Witcher or just one Mage or Sorceress, it would make sense, but a large force such as this draws a little more suspicion and rumors are circulating... Suspicions about what kinds of monsters are out there, whispers of upcoming War, tavern discussions that the King suspects a threat within his own court circulate, or hushed conversation that the King has gone mad; everybody has their own spin on what is going on now that signs are posted all over requesting the aid of warriors and spellcasters alike. The King has the intent of finding Elves after hearing a few rumors about people seeing Elves in the nearby vicinity. Whether or not those rumors are true has yet to be seen...

This story will largely take place outside the walls of Brugge, a city in the Southern edge of the Northern Kingdoms. The story being told here predates the stories of Geralt of Rivia by at least a century if not longer - I was intentionally vague on the date because I want to emphasize that none of what happens in this Sim is directly related to the games nor the books, as we will be exploring a time when Monsters really were Monstrous, as opposed to the time of Geralt of Rivia when monsters have started trying to fit into society, i.e. the Troll living under the bridge charges his tolls so he can afford to repair his bridge while making an honest living so he can afford to buy food instead of eating passersby and the horses they rode in on. This is a time when Mercenaries and Witchers could find work anywhere and might not feel the need to travel to find new work.

Q: Many don't know very much about the world of The Witcher, what might you compare The Witcher to that would be more familiar to Fantasy readers and gamers?

A: Well I would say The Witcher is very similar to Middle Earth in many ways. Actually you can draw a great many similarities between Geralt of Rivia, the main character from The Witcher, and Aragorn's alternate identity Strider from Lord of the Rings. The Witcher has all manner of mythical creatures and races, most of which also appear in Lord of the Rings. You have Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings. Then you have similar character elements, such as spell casting, mages, and sorceresses, mercenaries and warriors, commonfolk, nobles, priests, and so on. And then you also have wild beasts and creatures of evil that attack travelers and are hunted by mercenaries.

Technology is also very similar, bows and arrows, siege weapons, castles with walls, and wooden boats with sails. In Lord of the Rings there was a brief appearance of alchemical weapons in The Two Towers during the siege of Helm's Deep when a bomb was used to destroy the wall. Alchemical concoctions, both potions and small handheld bombs are present in The Witcher, though are rarely used by untrained people or alchemists who are often dismissed as mad scientists. The people and nations also have prejudices, injustices, social classes, and wars; common themes for many Fantasy stories and games."

Q: So what will players be doing?

A: The players will be playing characters in this group of monster slayers, going out and looking for trouble and taking on the beasts. They will be commissioned by the King to do so, so there will be some interactions with Royalty and the city of Brugge itself, but they can expect to be investigating monster appearances and problems in the outskirts, trying to locate monsters to defeat. The story will unfold from there, but that's the starting premise.

Q: So how do people join? Will they need to have read the books or played the games?

A: Players will need no experience with The Witcher to join. In fact knowledge of Fantasy settings in general is truly all that's necessary. Players that are interested in any non-Witcher class can for the most part rely on their own knowledge of Fantasy games to decide the aspects of their character both during design and gameplay. Players interested in playing spellcasters will be contacted by me personally to get them up to speed on where magical energy is drawn from and how that restricts spellcasters (and by restriction I mean preventing them from being Gods among mortals, apart from that the sky is the limit), and anyone interested in playing a Witcher, whether they have read our discussion here or if they have read the Witcher blog will already know as much as they need after receiving the information on spellcasters (though a Witcher doesn't necessarily need to be a spellcaster, there is one in the game who suffered a hand injury preventing him from casting spells). All other information that a player might want (and not necessarily need) is linked to on the Witcher blog I created.

Q: A dedicated blog. Excellent. Who knows, I may join. Thank you very much and I wish your game every success.

HMS Nelson seeks new players

I run a BC-304 sim in our Stargate section that is looking for some extra players.

If you're up for space battles and visiting new worlds, defending the Milky Way against the forces of the Ori, join up today!

The Wheel of Time starts turning

Jason Andersen and Dondi Ratliff are starting up their new RP,Wheel of Time, based on the fantasy novel series of the same name.

If you're interested, please head over here for more information and to apply.

A further clue to my competition

Nobody's got this yet.

So I'll give you a further clue. The character was played by a person who would later star in Dempsey & Makepeace. So if you look at IMDB, you should figure it out fairly quickly.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

A second first...

Yes, I know that sounds a bit strange.

I am now probably the first player here to use a star of British soap opera Coronation Street as a main character.

I was watching this week's episodes (I don't normally watch the show) and I've found Georgia Taylor from among the cast.

I'll let you have a guess; her recent wedding was in a rather different location as planned...

Friday, 10 December 2010

Election results in full

Robert Longtin has posted a graphic showing the full election results:

See here.

These were landslide victories for all the "incumbent" candidates.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Elections Results

Here are the elections results:


General Coordinator (GC): Ashley Leighton Plom
Contender: Jason Andersen
Technical Coordinator (TC): Euan Reid
Elections and Voting Coordinator (EVC): Robert Longtin


You can refer to my post here for further information.

~Robert

Election results imminent

Today we’re going to learn the results of our first elections; the result announcement should appear on here soon after it is made on the forums.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Election Reminder

Just to remind everyone that you can vote in the Phoenix elections until 23:59 EST (04:59 GMT tonight).

Results will be announced tomorrow, both on the site and here.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Phoenix Wiki launched

Phoenix Roleplaying has now opened a wiki on Wikidot:

See here.

It's still early days, but the wiki will soon hold a history of our club, profiles on key members and information on resolutions.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Firefly and Doctor Who peg dolls!

Adorable, aren't they?

A Kingdom for A Stage raises the curtain

Just to let everyone know that A Kingdom for A Stage has commenced RPing.

It's not too late to join this tale of 15th century intrigue. We won't be taking 10,000 troops and pillaging Geneva, but there will be a good skirmish or three.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

We have a Steam Group!

For those of you who use the Steam online gaming system, Phoenix Roleplaying now has its own dedicated group!

See here.

Now you can find out just how good Silent Hunter (Silent Hunter UK is my handle) is at Counter-Strike!
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