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.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Award nominations announced

The following people have been nominated for the 2011 Annual awards:

Player of the Year

Amanda Bond
Kevin Diamond
Silent Hunter
Robert Longtin
Jason Wypij
Jason Andersen

Sim of the Year

The West Star
Fighter Ops
Greenleaf Skyplex

Sim Leader/ASL of the Year

Kevin Diamond
Nick Buchanan
Jason Andersen
Silent Hunter
Amanda Bond
Mischa Brendel
Dawn 'Avalon McManus' Castell
Ash Plom

[Edit: Euan Reid realised he was ineligible for this award and so was withdrawn at his own request]

GM of the Year

Paul Baker
Amanda Bond
Silent Hunter
Jason Andersen
Nick Buchanan
Aidan Fal
William Smith
Deborah Leighton Plom

The committee are now considering the nominations and will announce the awards in due course.

The wreckage: A story by Mischa Brendel

Mischa Brendel has been writing short stories providing further background for some of his characters. This is the first one and his second will follow in a few days. Further stories are planned and other players, including Silent Hunter, plan to get involved.

This story is about Ryan Bow, from Atlantis.

The wreckage

Ryan ran across the field, rich with 3rd gen. wheat.
“Ryan! Come here! Mama said that dinner is ready. You know how she hates it to be kept waitin’.” Ryan pretended not to hear. He wasn’t hungry and he knew that Kim would follow him anyway.
“Ryan! If you don’t come back now, I’m telling dad!” But still Ryan kept on going. He wanted to go to the wreck he’d found earlier that day. It was just a little bit further and then down the hill. He and Derek had found it together that afternoon and although they had sworn not to tell anybody, Ryan could show it to his big sister; she wouldn’t tell.
“Ryan! Come on, I’m not kidding!” Ryan looked back, smiling. Kim was closing in. If she caught him before he got to the wreck, everything would be ruined. So he ran even faster. Just a little further… Ryan was now laughing out loud. He ran and ran, but then his foot got caught behind something and he lost his balance just as he reached the edge of the hill. The ground beneath his feet disappeared and for a moment he felt like he was flying. Then the ground came at him. Ryan put up his arms to protect himself, and screamed in fear. A sudden thud sounded as he hit the ground. An enormous sting shot up Ryan’s right arm, but he didn’t even have time to cry in pain, since his momentum threw him even further down the hill.
As Ryan rolled down, he thought he heard Kimberly’s voice, but he couldn’t make out what she was saying. All Ryan could do was wait until he’d stop rolling. Just as he thought that there would be no end to his tumble, Ryan hit something hard, landing on his hurt arm. He screamed out in pain, letting his tears run freely. He clutched his hurt arm with his other one, writhing in pain. He rolled on his side, crawling into a ball. He was now crying so loudly that he was gasping for air.
“Ryan! Ryan, are you alright?!” Kimberly came running down the hill and kneeled down next to him, worry clear in both face and voice. All Ryan could do was clutch his arm and cry in pain. “I’ll go… I’ll go and get dad” Kimberly mumbled, seeing that something was wrong with Ryan’s arm. “No!” Ryan sobbed. “Don’t leave me!”
For a short moment silence fell. Clearly, Kimberly was unsure as how to act. Then suddenly Ryan felt that he was being lifted from the ground. “Owowow! You’re hurting my arm!” Ryan screamed to his sister, who had picked him up. “Be quiet. Do you want me to get you home or not?” Kimberly sounded more sure of herself than she looked, as she tried to balance the weight of her little brother in her arms. Ryan looked her in the eyes and bit his lip. He didn’t say another word about the pain in his arm as Kimberly struggled to carry him up the hill and walked him to their parent’s house. “Kimberly? You’re not going to tell mom and dad about what happened, are you?”

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Miranda temporarily closed

Due to the absence of GM and Sim Leader Grant Hall, Miranda has been closed and set as invisible until further notice.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The History of 'Doctor Who': Season 1 - Wanderers in Time

As the 50th anniversary of the time-travel show is approaching next year (23 November 2013), I’ve decided to do a roughly fortnightly series on the history of the show, going season by season until the present day i.e. Season 34 as it will be in 2013. I’ll be briefly discussing each story, going onto some other topics and hopefully getting some of my readers interested in the classic era. Entire books have been written on just individual aspects of the show’s history, so I won’t go on too long.

So, let’s begin at the beginning. The classic era of Who consists of multi-episode serials, with numbers in each ranging from one to fourteen, but typically four or six. Runtime was usually c.25 minutes. However, when discussing the first three seasons of this show, we need to point out that what you got were individually titled episodes with the viewer not being able to guess in advance where one serial ended and another began. The titles for these serials are therefore sometimes educated guesswork, gleaned from the BBC paperwork – this particularly applies to the first season.

Also, I’d better beginning by mentioning the missing episodes. Of the 784 episodes of DW produced to date, 106 are missing from the archives (it was 108 until two turned up late last year). All from the era of the first two Doctors (when the show was in black and white), the reason these episodes are missing was simply that the BBC had a policy until the late 1970s of junking master copies when it felt there was no more value from them in a pre-VCR era. It’s only through the hard work of fans (whose off-air audio recordings ensure that we have everything in at least audio form) and various episodes turning up among private collections or in foreign TV vaults that we have just over half of the black-and-white era available to us. I’ll mention episode status in brackets for each story where relevant.

The Creation

If you remember “Human Nature” and the comment about “John Smith” having parents called Sydney and Verity, you may know that this is a reference to two of the show’s key creators

The “father” of Doctor Who was Sydney Newman (1917-1997), a Canadian who also created The Avengers, a classic British spy series. The BBC needed something to fill the slot between sports show Grandstand and music show Juke Box Jury, so he came up with the original concept for the show. He intended it to be educational as well as entertaining, although the former fell by the wayside.

The “mother” was Verity Lambert (1935-2007), the show’s first producer and actually the first woman producer at the BBC – before she’d even turned 30. There is a great drama about the creation of this show just waiting to be made and I wouldn’t be too surprised if we got one next year.

Present at the birth were Ron Grainer (the composer of the original theme music), Delia Derbyshire (who arranged it) and Waris Hussein, the first South Asian BBC drama director, among others.

An Unearthly Child (four episodes, all available)

[A pilot version of the first episode was made first, but another version was ordered as the BBC weren’t happy with it. The original version is available on video]

Our story begins with two schoolteachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, wondering why one of their pupils, one Susan Foreman, is acting strangely and being very bright (as well as talking about decimalisation of the currency). They visit her home at 76 Totter’s Lane, which is a junkyard and encounter her grandfather – the First Doctor. After the two teachers push their way into the TARDIS, the Doctor the reveals he and Susan are aliens (although the name “Time Lords” does not appear at this time) essentially kidnaps the pair of them.

After the first episode, Team TARDIS (as I shall refer to the TARDIS crew at any given time or in any given grouping) arrive in pre-history and enter a plot involving a tribe who have lost the secret of making fire. At the time, most of the past setting stories did not involve aliens in any way and so these stories are called “pure historicals” among fans.

Episode one is a wonderful piece of sci-fi. Most people don’t really bother too much about the other three.

The First Doctor

Played by William Hartnell, the first Doctor was a crotchety old man, with a marked tendency to go “Hmmmmm…” and mangle his words, a feature of early 1960s TV production when things were basically recorded “as live” and going for a retake wasn’t done unless you absolutely had to. Possessed a great sense of cunning though. Hartnell’s portrayal has been somewhat overshadowed by the other ten – it’s a somewhat different portrayal from the rest.

The Daleks (7 episodes, all available)

Arriving on a dead alien world with high radiation levels, the team enter a futuristic city – where Barbara has a memorable encounter with a sink plunger. When a vital TARDIS component is left behind, they must get it back by persuading a pacifist tribe to fight the Daleks.

The Daleks

Nobody had seen anything like the Daleks before – in fact we might not have got them at all. Terry Nation’s creations (his estate still co-owns the rights) were vetoed by Newman, who did not want a procession of “bug-eyed monsters” in his educational show. Lambert overruled him – a correct decision for the longevity of the show.

The Edge of Destruction (2 episodes, all available)

Set entirely in the TARDIS and only featuring the four regulars, the ship is heading back towards the Big Bang and the crew must figure out why. This was originally meant to be a two-episode filler of a thirteen episode season  - in the end Season 1 got 42 episodes – but it’s good filler at that.

Marco Polo (7 episodes, none available)

The team take a road trip across 1289 China with Marco Polo. I haven’t seen (or heard) this one. Plan to get the audio version at some point though.

The Keys of Marinus (6 episodes, all available)

An alien world is threatened by another lot of aliens, so the team have to find the keys to a machine that makes evil actions impossible, hoping around the planet with ‘travel dials’. Essentially a bunch of fairly good mini-adventures penned by Terry Nation.

The Aztecs (4 episodes, all available)

Arriving in 15th century Mexico, Barbara gets mistaken for a god and knowing the unpleasant end of Aztec civilisation, decides to try and make it better, while the Doctor gets engaged. A rather fondly-remembered story, this one.

The Sensorites (7 episodes, all available)

Arriving on a spaceship, the crew find humans terrified of a race called the Sensorites. When they encounter the latter, they find that the Sensorites are just as scared of the humans… An early example of the clever writing and playing with conventions that this show is so at.

The Reign of Terror (6 episodes, 4 and 5 are missing but are being recreated through animation for the DVD release later this year)

A pure historical set during the latter part of the French Revolution, this was the show’s first go at location filming. I haven’t seen this, but I certainly am going to get the DVD.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Views of the 'Verse

Robert Longtin has been doing some work on calculating what the other moons and planets of the verse would look like from certain worlds, using The Verse in Numbers as his source.

Here's some of his excellent work.

February Referendum has now started

All members should by now have received their Ballotbin emails informing them about this month's referendum. Double check your spam if you haven't.

There are four proposals on the ballot - please vote!

The end of 'Hustle'

Tonight sees the broadcast of the final episode of Hustle, the BBC con-artist drama that has run eight seasons, after a decision by the production to end it before it became stale. It’s been a highly enjoyable show, but I think it’s best to end it before it’s forced to end by declining ratings. I just hope the grifters actually pay their tab.


For this who will miss this show (what has happened to all the good Kudos shows), at least grifter fans will still have Leverage. J

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Awards reminder

Just to remind everyone that you have only seven or so days left to nominate people for our annual awards:

Go here to do so.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

A little project I've been doing in Google SketchUp

Can’t really say it’s all that much. Still early days.


This is Rostock, a spaceship owned by a mercenary group and used as a carrier, that features in one of the sims that I play one at Phoenix Roleplaying. I’ve added a model of Serenity (done by Abraham Katase) to provide some scale.


Award nominations for 2011 now open!

We're holding our annual awards "bash" soon and we're looking for nominations.

Please go here to say you think should win the four awards.
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