Tuesday, 27 December 2011
The Magical Trees of Androzani (Review: 'Doctor Who' 33.X, "The Doctor, The Widow and The Wardrobe")
Friday, 23 December 2011
Saturday, 17 December 2011
Friday, 16 December 2011
I'm not sure if there is a 'way' to play a female. I just tend to make them less inclined to shoot first. I think of how the women I know in life would react to a situation. How would they talk? What would they think of the people around them? I am very intrigued how Princess Noshin on Fighter Ops is going to react to where that plot line is going. She has a tendency to get very punishing and vindictive on people or in this case nations that cross her. I also like characters that are out of their element, and most Sci-Fi is in very masculine environments. The difference on how they perceive the situation makes them interesting characters to write for.
Of the slightly more modern era, I love Chris Carter's Space Above & Beyond. While more of a military show, it was a refreshing ride through sci-fi dogfight style shows. I would like for a whole new era of sci-fi shows to start showing up that are not meant to be Lost or 24. On a personal and professional level, Edgar Rice Burrough's sci-fi series need to get more attention, and I'm talking Amtor not Barsoom.
Also Sanctuary is a fabulous show that more people need to watch. No really it’s on Friday nights. Watch it.
If that's too esoteric of an answer... then Star Trek.
I also miss the love/hate relationship between Poppy Brandes and Mike Palmer's Captain Lindemann on the Atlantis. I'm sad it never got to the embarrassing screaming match that she was headed towards with him.
Every space station needs to have a purpose to exist in space, this one has commerce. The Rim planets are struggling and require extensive goods from the inner planets to maintain themselves. I built the concept of a Blue Sun Mega Hauler with the creation of the un-launched Blue Horizon sim and my character Poppy Brandes as large company ships running from the Core to the Rim loaded with lots of essentials for survival of the colonies. They had to leave from and stop somewhere. So I made Greenleaf a terminus for that quadrant of the Verse. Nobody would hire the small freighters such as Serenity to take 3 Million tons of grain from Bernadette to Shadow. Not to mention she couldn't hold it. So the bigger hauler, like a tanker, takes the goods to the distribution point and the smaller ships take it from there to a thousand destinations. Cash is exchanged and goods are brought back to sell in the Core. A smaller ship such as those in our fleets could work out of Greenleaf indefinitely if they wanted legitimate jobs.
Add to this economic engine the tension between the orderliness of the Alliance, the chaos of the RIM, a community of shop owners and lucrative gambling and smuggling businesses and you have a great backdrop for storytelling. Anything you want can happen there. There is room for tales of innocence and kindness, there is room for depravity and darkness. It all depends on you folks... and staying above deck five.
Poppy Brandes on Atlantis is completely in favor of the Alliance. She served in U war, but not as a combatant, but as a researcher in foodstuffs. She is a long time employee of Blue Sun and thinks highly of how the company helps people all over the Verse. She is not overly political and is just a girl with a job that wants to see the Verse. She views Browncoats as terrorist thugs, and sees the Alliance as the Good Guys fighting for decency and civilization. Joss Whedon saw the Firefly Universe the way he wanted to see it, and said that it could be possible that all the events of the Verse is seen through the misinformed perspective of individuals on the fringe of society. Poppy is one of the people he didn't write stories about.
Ta'ask on USS Repulse is a dinosaur. He does not act or think as regular people. He thinks in terms of Hunter, Prey and Clans. He is a deliberate outsider that plays against what most people see as human norms. He also has to suppress urges to eat most of the bridge crew.
Princess Noshin bin Sultan Al Qasimi on Fighter Ops is a Muslim woman from the upper class that has been blended into a British fighter squadron as an exchange officer. She deals with issues of trying not to conform to western lifestyles, being an independent woman from a conservative paternal society and of course fighting fellow Muslims in a conflict alongside western outsiders.
Elli Hol'liz on Star Wars: Accipter is a former slave turned actress that has no care for Jedi or Sith. The affairs of Galactic Politics and to a degree good and evil are irrelevant to her. Just because she is Force Sensitive doesn’t mean she is in any hurry to associate herself with the Jedi. Her motives are quite selfish but not necessarily evil. She is an outsider pulled into the conflict of other people and trying to escape or at least survive.
Myfanwy Villar on Beyond the Veil of Truth, is an orphaned teenager with remarkable but odd abilities that has found her way into the care of Paranormal research Institute. She has no practical training or skills for combating the weird and unknown. She answers phones and spends her time on the internet. But her hidden abilities are useful enough that she is being trained or at least taken along as a field agent.
As I said, they are mostly all oddballs. And I like it that way.
I work with High School students in my local parish and tend to do a lot of things they like to do. I have teach weekly classes, and have to plan social events every month. And we are long standing Disney Season Pass holders and are at Disneyland about every two weeks during the winter months (summer is too crowded).
I have never been a huge gamer, we don't even own a console. I tend to play games on my computer. I'm back on the City of Heroes MMORPG again now that it is free, but I find I don't have as much time for it as I used to. Good thing its free now.
Oh yeah, I have jobs too.
I do think I have a lot of work to do in getting new members integrated into games. The ones we do get that have stuck around are fabulous, but I still think the pacing we set is a bit odd for many people to overcome. Phoenix is a work in progress and I look forward to helping shape it into a better community for everyone that stops by. (Evil spambots not included).
Saturday, 10 December 2011
Monday, 5 December 2011
The plan is to put the legislation to a vote from 15 December.
Acting General Coordinator
5 December 2011
Sunday, 20 November 2011
- Subscribe to the threads that you're posting in - you can just click at the bottom of the thread for this. That way, you'll instantly get an email if someone replies when you're off the site.
- If you have an RSS reader, you can add your favourite threads to it. It'll take a while for the posts to get through, but you can see all the posts in your reader.
Wednesday, 19 October 2011
[For most of its history, Doctor Who was split into serials each under one title with multiple numbered episodes, usually four or six, but ranging from one to fourteen over the classic era]
A group of intrepid colonists leaving an overcrowded world are facing crop shortages as a mining corporation tries to get rid of them. Suddenly, a spaceship arrives.
Series 8 of Doctor Who, the second colour season and the second featuring the Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) would introduce two of the show’s best known characters, both of whom made appearances as recently as 2010. One of these was Jo Grant. The other was the Master.
Roger Delgado’s portrayal of the Master (it is not a spoiler to say he appears in this story, as he’s on the DVD cover) is a marked contrast to Simm’s madder than a roomful of Victorian hatters approach. He’s urbane, witty – but still utterly insane (telephone cable strangulation, anyone?). Think of Moriarty to the Doctor’s Sherlock Holmes – the writers certainly were.
Before we begin, it’s worth setting the scene. After having to call the Time Lords for help (their first actual appearance) in “The War Games”, the Series 6 Finale, the Second Doctor was put on trial for meddling and convicted. His sentence was to forcibly regenerated (a word not yet in use) and exiled to Earth in the 20th century, losing his ability to control his TARDIS. He crash landed, ran into UNIT and the Brigadier, dealt with the Autons (Series Seven’s “Spearhead from Space”) and got a job as their scientific advisor, with a scientist assisting him called Liz Shaw. She lasted for one season – mainly because the new production team (Producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks) felt they needed someone who could better act as audience surrogate – i.e. ask the Doctor what’s happening. The team also made the show lighter and more fantasy-based than the “hard sci-fi” Season 7 .
With Liz gone, the Doctor found himself saddled with a new assistant, who had used good old fashioned family connections to get herself a job with UNIT. Josephine “Jo” Grant (Jones these days, as she recently appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures), a sometimes ditzy blonde who had failed her Science A-Level, proved her worth in other ways, being not too shabby in a fight.
“Colony in Space” is Jo’s fourth story and her first trip in the TARDIS – in fact she’s never even been in it up to his point and doesn’t believe it’s a time machine that’s bigger on the inside. In fact, it’s the first off-world story since “The War Games”, as the Letts-Dicks team were worried that the show was losing its best selling point and came up with a solution to work around the exile….
That’s not to say it isn’t a good season – “Doctor Who and the Silurians” and “Inferno” are rightly considered classics.
Letts died in 2009 – “The Waters of Mars” was dedicated to him.
Still alive. Wrote an awful lot of Target novelizations and other tie-in books.
Saturday, 15 October 2011
Apologies for the delay in this, I’ve been very busy.
Russell T Davies OBE can be a notoriously variable writer when it comes to actual quality of work. His four season and four specials tenure on Doctor Who saw him write classics such as “The Waters of Mars”, mediocre stuff like “New Earth” and stinkers like “Love and Monsters”.
While his time as lead writer on the show has now ended, he is still involved in the Whoniverse with two of his own creations, although one of these, The Sarah Jane Adventures, has now been ended by the tragic loss of Elisabeth Sladen.
Torchwood, his first spin-off, revolves around a secret organisation of alien investigations led by pansexual immortal former companion to the Ninth Doctor, “Captain Jack Harkness” played with considerable matinee idol swagger with by John Barrowman. Being a far more dangerous organisation than even 24’s CTU, at the end of Season Three (Children of Earth) only two of the “original” five members were still alive, with Captain Jack going off-world to get away from what he’d had to do at the end of that event.
As we begin this season, Gwen Cooper, now with baby Anwen and husband Rhys, is living in a remote area of Wales. Jack is somewhere.
In the USA, convicted paedophile and child murderer Oswald Danes is about to get a lethal injection and a man called Rex is about to crash his car and get a pole through his chest. Neither actually die. Nor does anyone else.
You see, humanity suddenly stops dying, which is going to cause some problems. Not so much in the field of overpopulation (we’re already heading for a population of 9 billion by 2050 as is) but in the situation of a huge number of people who should be dead but are still in some form functioning. The solution will not be pretty. It’s up to Jack, Gwen, Rex, Dr Vera Juarez and a CIA analyst named Esther to get to the bottom of all of this.
It’s an intriguing, globe-trotting tale that uses both its US and Welsh locations well, but it runs into problems – lots of them.
One thing that became obvious during this ten episode run was that it shouldn’t have been ten episodes. This story could have been effectively told in eight and stretching it to ten caused a lot of unnecessary drag. This especially applies in the closing episode, where I was mentally wishing that they’d just get on with it. There’s keeping the audience in suspense and then there is frustrating them – this entered the latter. The “solution” is unconvincing – yes, I know this is a show that involves a time travelling police box.
There’s other problems too – some of the characters aren’t all that good. Oswald Danes, while well played by Bill Pullman, seems ultimately unnecessary to the plot. We didn’t need an evil paedophile here – it’s like he was added solely for ratings. Jilly Kitzinger was better, but still lacked something.
It’s not all bad though. People still get “killed” in this and some of the deaths are truly shocking. There’s also a particularly disturbing scene involving a broken neck. The overall plot is good and has a few nice red herrings – it’s just a pity it wasn’t shorter. Eve Myles is particularly good in this and sparkles in her scenes with John Barrowman. There are some very thrilling moments and some truly great humour. Also, the end scene is rather interesting and sets things up for another season…
If we get another season – the continued existence of Torchwood as a viable show remains clear. Certainly, with the mediocre performance that was Miracle Day, I wouldn’t be upset if it didn’t come back.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
The new logo has already been integrated into our blog banner alongside the Buccaneer bomber that is this blog's only symbol and will soon be added to the site proper.
Sunday, 9 October 2011
Saturday, 8 October 2011
The discussion thread is here.
Please, let your thoughts be known!
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
Monday, 3 October 2011
What is Steven Moffat smoking?
In an episode that brought us cannibal skulls, people being killed by eye patches and Winston Churchill as the Holy Roman Emperor, disembodied talking heads was actually pretty sane, if only because I’ve seen it in Futurama. Even by the Moff’s trippy standards, this was far out.
“The Wedding of River Song” answered a lot of questions and left others unanswered; as is the way with the season finales since 2005 (the concept didn’t really exist in the era of the First Seven). We finally found out the truth about River Song and the whole thing with “The Impossible Astronaut” (got to say this: the Moff does simple but great get out stuff, even if this sort of thing has been done before in Who). Then we got stuff unanswered about the “Fall of the Eleventh” and “Silence must fall”… Hey, RTD didn’t answer everything either, like who was that woman in “The End of Time”?
As season finales go, this was a mixed bag. We had a superb performance from Matt Smith, who despite being the youngest man ever to take the helm of the TARDIS (I believe he’s still younger than Davison was in his first season) plays a 1100 year old man with aplomb. The other leads were great and Amy’s particular decision re a certain character was very well-played. The last scene where the first question was asked – a great ending.
However, a lot of this seemed to flow poorly and a case of throwing in creatures just for the sake of it. “The Big Bang” used its menagerie far better and while the Moff clearly loves his alien creatures, you can do the Mos Eisley Cantina one too many times. We didn’t need Winston Churchill either.
I’m not saying this was poor, but it could have been a lot better – only the brilliant ending scene put this into the 8 category.
Finally, I must thank Steven Moffat for mentioning the Brigadier in this story. I know a lot of fans were upset that Nicholas Courtney didn’t get an on-screen tribute caption this season, but I feel that the scene when the Doctor is informed of the Brig’s death (a key turning point in the story) was a wonderful tribute to the man and the character.
Saturday, 1 October 2011
- Greenleaf Skyplex: A new Firefly sim set on a space station
- D'ni: Infinite Ages - Prison Break: A sim set in the universe of the Myst games.
- Stargate: Resistance (coming soon) - set in an alternative reality, where the Goa'uld have conquered Earth.
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Since September 2000, when CSI first arrived on US screens, forensics has become sexy. You could fill a Tube carriage with the glamorous pathologists, anthropologists and trace analysts that now parade across TV land. From Nikki Alexander to Danny Messer to Temperance Brennan to Nick Stokes, people who die in crime shows can be assured that someone pretty good-looking (and sometimes inappropriately dressed for the job) will help bring them justice.
Rizzoli & Isles is not really an exception to this. Dr Maura Isles, played by Sasha Alexander (Kate Todd in NCIS back in the day) is a tall bottle blonde who in the words of another character, always looks like she’s about to do a photo shoot and wears high heels to crime scenes.
Enough about her for the time being though. R&I, based on the novels by Tess Gerritsen, is another one of those buddy cop shows where two chalk and cheese characters trade witty remarks while solving relatively fiendish crimes. There’s Isles, a slightly odd coroner and Detective Kate Rizzoli, a short-tempered world-weary cop, who solve murders in Boston, hence the Irish jig theme tune.
This opener doesn’t waste time having everyone meet everyone – we’re straight in with a rather grisly plot involving a serial killer’s apprentice and the serial killer himself, played by a guy who I think was Ira Gaines in the first season of 24. The latter, you see, once almost killed Rizzoli and she still bears the scars from where he nailed her to the floor. The only reason this guy hasn’t got a needle yet is that MA doesn’t execute people and so he’s in jail. You just know he isn’t staying there for long…
I’m going to call this show Grizzly & Smiles. A dark plot involving horrific murders is counter-balanced by Rizzoli getting saddled with a mangy dog (she’s got an allergy) and the two leads eating cat food. There’s the second best tactical use of a flare I’ve ever seen and a rather chilling/thrilling climax as the serial killer decides to finish what he started. Much of it is telegraphed, but so was ‘Allo! 'Allo! (RIP David Croft).
Only real gripes with this were firstly the slow pace and the lack of any explanation of what happened to the old detective who get a cut on his throat.
A show with real promise – it’s already got a third season in the States. I’ll be along for the ride.
Monday, 26 September 2011
“The Lodger” was one of the surprise hits of Season 31 and so it’s not too surprising that James Corden was asked to reprise his character in this season.
In retrospect, it might not have been a good idea.
“Closing Time” sees the Doctor, nearing the encounter with the Impossible Astronaut as seen in the season opener, take a trip to Colchester to meet up with his mate who I have now managed to completely forget the name of. They investigate some mysterious activity at a department store and encounter Cybermen, where the guy learns the power of love.
I wasn’t too impressed with this episode – while there were a lot of good elements in it, they didn’t really gel into a coherent whole. Matt Smith was excellent, but James Corden lacked a certain something. The plot seemed pasted on for the humour, when the humour should have been integrated into the storyline (see “The Empty Child” as a demonstration of how to do this properly). The best bit was the ending, despite feeling a bit tacked on.
All in all, this was a poor episode made average by Matt Smith and quite frankly the worst one of this half of the season.
Suppose we’ll find out how Amy Pond became famous next week.
Monday, 19 September 2011
It’s a good thing I don’t suffer from a fear of clowns, Weeping Angels or gorillas, because I might not have made it through this episode, which was seriously freaky – and rather hard to understand (more so in some areas than Inception).
The Doctor, Amy and Rory end up trapped in a bad 80s hotel with a Muslim nurse, a mole, a Trekker and a gambler, which also contains a minotaur. This really strange plot description hides what is actually a rather good episode. [To be honest, Silent, you can describe many greats in strange ways -Ed]
In fact it’s very good – not a classic, which it would need to be to warrant a 9 or a 10, but a good old-fashioned romp (albeit a disturbing one) with a lot of running around identical corridors [Perhaps they’ve got budget problems – but then again judging by the CGI… - Ed]. There’s a real sense of terror and the gradual killing of the characters a la certain Agatha Christie novel, Alien or other things like that.
The supporting cast are very good; David Walliams excels as a mole and the first Muslim in Doctor Who since well, “The Crusades” (I may be wrong on that) also comes across a well-rounded character. Yet again, the dialogue from Toby Whithouse (who gave us Sarah Jane and Rose’s memorable verbal one-upmanship in “School Reunion”) sparkles and produces memorable one-liners. Plus Caitlin Blackwood as Amelia, who must be considered a recurring character by now, was great without even saying a word.
Only real issue I have is the ending. I mean it’s obvious that’s not the end for Amy and Rory. Right? Right?
Monday, 12 September 2011
Since Steven Moffat arrived as EP, this show has been getting seriously, seriously timey-wimey. This episode is a case in point and it wasn’t even written by the Moff, but by Tom Macrae.
I’ve got a feeling that this episode was the cheap one, although the large amounts of CGI in part refute that conclusion. Mind you, this is the most white we’ve seen in Who since “Warrior’s Gate” and arguably the most TARDIS time we’ve seen in years.
The story is a very interesting one – with Amy getting stuck in a separate time stream to Rory and the Doctor, then the two arriving 36 years too late to rescue her. Mind you it lacks something in the execution – perhaps a general pacing issue. If I notice the time during an episode and how long I’ve got left, then something isn’t working.
However, there’s plenty that works. The idea that a person in an alternative time stream might not want to erase themselves from existence isn’t that common in these sorts of stories – I think the only other time I’ve seen it recently is in the Stargate SG-1 movie The Ark of Truth. The concept of Twostreams is interesting, even if I can’t get my GCSE in Science Possessing head around it. However, the best part of this episode was undoubtedly Karen Gillan, who definitely proved once and for all that she is more than a pretty face and a nice pair of legs. Getting to wear a good amount of ageing makeup, Gillan had the hardest job of the episode and pulled it off with aplomb. Plus I’m sure she enjoyed decapitating robots – who doesn’t?
The ending was something of an issue for me – Amy Future’s decision seemed a bit off after the rest of the episode. Matt Smith does one of those alien moments that every Doctor gets every so often, which doesn’t quite work here.
Overall, this story lacked a certainly something to make it great. I’ve seen better, I’ve seen worse. It’s good though.
Next week, a nasty hotel.
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
Sunday, 4 September 2011
Seeing Amy Pond turn into a wooden dolly is the stuff of nightmares. It was disturbing even for a seasoned adult who finds The Omen to be a comedy. I’ll get to that in a minute.
Mark Gatiss has been a bit of a hit-and-miss writer for Doctor Who – with works varying from the good “The Unquiet Dead” to last season’s stinker “Victory of the Daleks”. “Night Terrors” will definitely be considered one of his successes.
The Doctor, Amy and Rory are summoned through the psychic paper to help an eight-year-old kid who seems to be scared of everything (and suffering from OCD to boot). Shortly after their arrival, while looking for said kid’s residence, Amy and Rory have a frightening lift ride and end up in a creepy house. The Doctor finds the kid and discovers a truly scary cupboard…
After some initial comedy with the search for the house, this episode gets very creepy very fast. The fact that nearly all of the episode takes place in darkness massively helps with the atmosphere. The plain face dolls also qualify as horrific in a way that a Sontaran doesn’t quite do – the lack of expression makes them scarier. There are some very interesting horror/sci-fi concepts here, but that’s not what people will remember. This episode enters Moffat levels of scary; many kids were probably scurrying behind the sofa at much of this. The tension is racked up throughout and there aren’t even any spring-loaded cats to provide a temporary respite. The horror is genuine, not comical gore, especially the people turning into dolls.
I’ve gone on record as saying I prefer two companions to one as it allows for separation of one them while keeping the other two to have chemistry with each other. This is further demonstrated here with Amy and Rory, who get on well together (of course, they are married to each other) and have some great dynamic in the house.
While everyone does well, special pride of place in the acting department must go to Daniel Mays as Alex, a “muggle” who just thinks that his child is strange and, as we discover, has a bigger effect with that thought than he realises. It’s a far cry from his great turn on Ashes to Ashes.
Only flaw in this? The climax was a little overlong and predictable. It’s not too bad, but you have to be pretty near perfect to get a ten from me.
In summary, this is an excellent episode, which is well written, well-acted and well-paced, with a great hook, line and sinker. It’s one of the best episodes of Season 32.
Next week looks very interesting too.
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Well. Well well well well.
That was not your usual episode of Doctor Who, to put it mildly. You don’t usually get that many revelations in a single episode.
Shortly after Steven Moffat won yet another Hugo, one approaches “Let’s Kill Hitler” looking forward to an excellent romp with a very interesting title. We got a romp alright, but it was rather a lightweight one. The fact that the story hung together at all was because of the chemistry of the three leads and Alex Kingston.
The pre-titles sequence is classic Moffat-era. Amy and the Doctor creating a crop circle to call the Doctor is something that wouldn’t have happened in the RTD era, let alone the pre-1989 show. Then having their sparky naughty best mate Mels show up and comment that “You never told me he was hot” adds another strange dimension to things, as after the titles we look back at the past of Amy, Rory and Mels.
Crashing in Hitler’s office in Berlin in 1938, where they stop a robot full of tiny people from killing the Fuehrer, things then starting getting very arcy. Mels gets shot – and then regenerates into everyone’s favourite time-travelling archaeologist – River Song. Then the robot decides it’s going to kill River/Melody for the crime of killing the Doctor. Cue some fun in miniature, River stealing people’s clothes and some very polite homicidal security robots.
Alex Kingston is great in this episode. Time Lords do tend to go a bit funny post-regeneration and she is very funny after this one; demonstrating a woman who ultimately is changed for the better by a “good man” (I can see some feminists having a go at the entire River Song arc now).
Gillan and Darvill just go with the flow of the crazy story and demonstrate that they’ve thoroughly settled into the TARDIS by now.
Matt Smith manages to get upstaged by Alex Kingston and to be honest spends much of the time gurning. While he’s certainly proving to be a superb Doctor, this isn’t one of his finer performances, especially nearer the end.
While there are certainly some very interesting science-fiction elements in the plot and the comedy stuff is a treat, there’s a good amount in the episode. Hitler only serves to appear for five minutes and get shoved into a cupboard – this episode could have worked without him and it’s clear the title was just to draw people in – many of whom were going to turn up even if this was called “Tiny People in a Robot”. The whole thing seems to be a mishmash of popular Moffat and even RTD elements, trying to play to the crowd without actually providing a good story. It’s got to rate as one of the Moff’s worst eps.
It’s not to say it’s not good; it definitely creates some interesting plot points and it’s definitely entertaining. It just could have been better – Steven Moffat can do so and has done so. The show will survive at this standard, but it is capable of much more and hopefully we’ll see that.
One last thing – I really like the Doctor’s new coat.
Saturday, 20 August 2011
I'll be moving over my sims ASAP.
Sunday, 14 August 2011
Journey of the Phoenix can reveal the dramatic opening story for Fighter Ops- FE@R.
2015. Israeli aircraft destroy Iran's Natanz nuclear enrichment facility. A furious Iran reacts by threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz.
With the global economy in turmoil, an elite squadron of RAF Eurofighter Typhoons is deployed to the Middle East to assist in keeping the Straits open.
As war breaks out, they will need all their skills to defeat a determined enemy.
Saturday, 23 July 2011
This is part of a general reinvigoration of our fine site; we're trying to get activity levels back up and sims more active, so we're mothballing the inactive ones.
Saturday, 16 July 2011
Monday, 4 July 2011
Monday, 27 June 2011
She'll be missed and hopefully we'll see her back one today.
Silent Hunter will take over the leadership of the currently suspended WW3.
Saturday, 25 June 2011
Saturday, 18 June 2011
For those of you who are looking at the reviews: this is the system I use – a modified version of the one used by Gallifrey Base in their rating threads for Doctor Who episodes.
· 10: Fantastic! The absolute pinnacle
· 9: They don't get much better than this!
· 8: It's certainly worthy of very high praise!
· 7: Well above average, but no masterpiece
· 6: Just a cut above average
· 5: Can't find a better example of average media
· 4: It's below average, but only just!
· 3: This one's bad but it's got some good in it, just there.
· 2: It's not the worst, that's something else. But...
· 1: I'd rather listen to a tape loop of leaf blower noise!
Firstly, there's a refreshingly different style to this book to the other core rulebooks I've read (although admittedly, that's not that many). To give a sample:
Drugs & Poisons: Alcohol, drugs and poison are fought with a Resistance (double Vitality) roll, with difficulty and effects adjudicated by the GM. This could lead to a mild buzz, certain death, or you might start seeing little lights in front of your eyes before you collapse onto the cockpit floor in a puddle of your own drool.Secondly, the system for character generation is simple and relatively easy to use, encouraging, strong vibrant characters rather than power-gaming (if you want a really powerful character, you'll need to give him a few complications. Having pre-made stats for our heroes as well as another group of people gives you a clear idea of what to aim at in the event that you wanted to create a highly chirpy mercenary who likes to paint her guns pink (hey, who doesn't?).
The background stuff is excellent, adding considerably to already existing canon material and provides valuable help to free-form games as well as games using this system. This especially applies to the ship material; a deck plan of a Firefly will be much appreciated.
The style occasionally goes into the condescending; particularly in the GMing section, although this is aimed at a wide audience.
There are some avoidable typos, especially in the ship section.
I would have appreciated a Space Chinese - English dictionary as well as one going the other way, as well as a definite ending to the two "stories".
Finally, space combat could use a better description; it's not clear what positioning reference if any, you are supposed to use - operating in 3D is a nightmare for any GM and 2D isn't too realistic.
9/10. Definitely worth getting.
Two further notes
The Margaret Weis licence expired on 31 January 2011; no further official books to the ones already out will be released. In addition, it is getting increasingly hard to find this book for sale in Europe; be prepared to import if necessary.
PS: If anyone spots the Blake's Seven reference in my previous post, I will give them some reward in any game I run.
Thursday, 16 June 2011
I’m here with Amanda Bond, GM of ‘The Elemental’, one of our Firefly sims and also player in a number of other sims on our site.
So, Amanda, tell me a little about yourself.
I started writing this in paragraph form and it sounded too much like I needed to end it with "And I like long walks on the beach" so without further ado, here are ten Fun Facts About me you didn't know:
-I grew up on a cattle ranch in Washington State
-I majored in theater and broadcasting and have worked in each of those on and off since graduating from Gonzaga University back in 2001. Currently I am working for an exhibit house coordinating booths for industry trade shows.
-I have been married for coming up on six years this July 2
-I have a Pembroke Welsh Corgi named River.
-I live in Las Vegas, Nevada with my father and my paternal grandmother, who my husband is the main care giver for.
-I've studied ballet since I was five and currently take ballet, cabaret (think like burlesque mixed with a bit of jazz dance), and yes pole dancing and strip tease (it's Vegas!)
-I turned 31 this past December.
-I used to be part of demo team for White Wolf Games who published Vampire: The Masquerade.
-I am really awful with FPS and MMOs because with both I have a lack of focus and concentration needed for them. I end up wandering off in the middle of raids and things. Set me down with Dragon Age though and I am all set for the next twenty-four hours.
-I am a weekend Steam Punk person and have a variety of costumes for many occasions.
So, how did you get into Firefly?
The series or RP? I saw previews for the movie in the theater and I said 'we should go to that' to my husband but when the movie came out for some reason we missed it. My husband was working at Best Buy when the movie came out on DVD so he bought the movie and brought it home. We watched it with a friend who started raving about the TV series. We bought the TV series on DVD and have since bought it for presents and loaned my set around the office.
A friend of mine started a Firefly table top game over AIM but as his law school took off he had to stop running it. I did a search for Firefly games online and that was how it all began.
Who is your favourite Firefly character?
I really had a hard time with this question, but I think my favorite character is Captain Malcolm Reynolds. He really honestly wants life to be simple, but he keeps making it more complicated because of his heroic and misguided impulses. I always enjoy rogues with hearts of gold and I definitely think Mal fits that description.
So, how did The Elemental come about?
The really neat thing about the Elemental was that the crew came together in game on the planet (Akers Bluff) in a really organic, natural way. The crew formed IC, then OOC we talked about a ship. The back story of the Elemental as a ship itself was one of those things that really came about as a team effort. The design of the ship led to this story of this old salvage ship that was once used by pirates but has been drifting in space. Naturally that led to a ghost story on board the ship. If I remember correctly Ash Plom was the driving force behind the schematics of the ship, we had a player who's no longer with us do some mock ups of this cool ship with claws, and then they let me go crazy with a back story based loosely on The Pardoner's Tale and a little bit of steam punk inspired tech.
The Pardoner’s Tale? That’s Chaucer, isn’t it?
Yes, that's one of Chaucer's more famous tales from the Canterbury Tales. As a note, it's been used before for inspiration - Exalted a game from White Wolf used the Pardoner's Tale as basis for their fiction for one of their cannon heroes called Swan and more famously JK Rowling used it as a basis for the Deathly Hallows. My father was an Old English Major in school so I was reading Canterbury Tales by the time I was ten or twelve? I know I read it around the time I read the Count of Monte Cristo and that's when I was reading that. He did not believe in Children's Literature per se. It is amazing how that sort of background sticks with you throughout life.
So, what are you reading at the moment?
Well this is a busy season for trade shows so I am reading a lot of manuals on the rules at various conventions and convention centers. I just finished setting up for E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) and am in the process of setting up for Infocomm. The most I get to read during this time of year is the occasional Dr Who forum as fans go nuts with speculation and of course http://jotpuk.blogspot.com/ which is the official blog of the Journey of the Phoenix.
The last book I read was Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential earlier this year.
Very interesting. Finally, what are your RPing plans for the immediate future?
The Elemental is going to land on Santo and have an adventure worthy of being the lovechild of the movie The Hangover and Hearts of Gold Episode of Firefly. I love playing the Naboo Ambassador Merisee aboard the West Star. After running through the Harry Potter experience at Universal Studios in Orlando I am debating another sim - have to see though if I have time for it.
We hope to see these soon. Thank you for your time!