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.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Limited benefit of clergy (Review: 'NCIS' 11.9, "Gut Check")

Apologies for the long delay in doing this; this time of year is very busy for me in the TV department and I also went on holiday.


At the beginning of the eleventh season of this Navy-based cop show, former Mossad operative turned NCIS agent Ziva David had an existential crisis and decided to cut ties with the agency, staying in her native Israel. The result was that the desk nearest the world's most easily stoppable elevator became vacant for the first time since Ziva's deceased half-brother shot its previous occupant in the head.

(I'm not going to comment on Cote de Pablo's decision to leave the show here)

After a few episodes with various guest characters supplementing the line-up of Gibbs, McGee and DiNozzo, her replacement shows up at last... and quite frankly, she don't impress me much.

This episode sees the Secretary of the Navy, the latest one at any rate (I think this is number four; the previous SECNAV got blown up) discovering that someone has managed to put a bug on her person while giving a classified briefing on the new Zumwalt-class destroyer. As a result, Gibbs' team are tasked to find out who did this dastardly deed and recover the intelligence before it ends up in the wrong hands; discovering that the person responsible was following a NSA playbook drafted by an analyst for everyone's favourite email readers (hello, I hope you're enjoying this). The NSA's alleged activities don't get ignored in this and there is a humorous scene with Abby and said analyst discussing them.

The mystery takes its usual twist and turns before those responsible are found as usual. However, one doesn't watch NCIS for the investigations (fun though this one is), but for the characters. I personally came for Abby and stayed for everyone else. Abby Sciuto is her usually perky Goth self, demonstrating her lab rat skills with aplomb and McGee does well; NCIS chief Leon Vance isn't in this one. One major criticism I have of this is the actions of Tony, who seems to have become substantially less mature in the last few episodes although he's always good for film references. Gibbs is also a bit off in this one.

The NSA analyst, Eleanor "Ellie" Bishop, who gets offered a joint duty assignment at the end of the episode, is the main "attraction" here. An obsessive IT geek with a photographic memory, a tendency to food-associate, sit on things most people don't tend to sit on i.e. the autopsy table and finally demonstrate a lack of regard for her own personal safety, my thought on her first appearance was "Oh, no, that's Ziva's replacement?", which I can safely say was not my thought on Ziva's first scene, way back in Season 3. She's a lab rat in a show with four scientifically/computer-y minded characters already and her "I've got three older brothers" reason for demonstrating (or rather not; we only see her having made the capture) physical grappling prowess reeks of cliché. I actually found her rather irritating... although I didn't want to throttle her then and there. I'm willing to give her a further chance, but if she doesn't improve, I'm going to start wishing that someone crashes her at high speed into a planet.


A good episode, but Bishop isn't the reason for it.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Harry Potter sim arrives at Phoenix Roleplaying!

We've gained another new sim at Phoenix to make up for some recent closures - the latest of those being Sierra Charlie Four.

Hogwarts, set in the world of the multi-billion-dollar book and film franchise Harry Potter, has been launched and can be found here.

The Sorting Hat is waiting!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

'The Elemental' goes inactive until 2015

Due to the long-term LOA of its Sim Leader, Amanda Bond, the award winning Firefly sim The Elemental has now been set as inactive and will remain so until 2015.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Phoenix Roleplaying wins a Squiddie!

Dear all,

I am highly pleased to announce that Phoenix Roleplaying has won one of this year's three Ongoing Worlds Medals for Superior Online Roleplaying, also know as the Squiddies. We won the prize in the club category, one of three nominees. This is our citation:

"Through a diverse lineup of original and themed games, Phoenix Roleplaying showed in 2013 exactly how to exemplify excellence across a wide range and quantity of simulations.  Phoenix boasts a community high of 9 awards in the Simulation Cup and Tournament of Simulations over the last two years, which is clear evidence of their masterful balance of community and creativity.  Using a democratic leadership structure, they welcome role players of all shapes and sizes and encourage and inspire the imagination of hundreds.  Games are permitted to develop very organically, allowing players to establish deep connections with them and their fellow players.  Instead of getting bogged down in IT and other technicalities, Phoenix specializes in role-playing excellence and does it to the max."

Now we have won this, we will not be eligible to get another club award, but this is something we will never lose.

Congratulation to all of our members - this would not have been possible without you.

Silent Hunter
General Coordinator
Phoenix Roleplaying

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

There's actually a lot there (Review: 'Doctor Who: Into the Nowhere', 2014)

So, now I've done two Matt Smith stories. Only three more to go in my series and in this next short story/novella, a story that would work very well on TV. Although the effects budget might be stretched.

The Eleventh Doctor and Clara land on an unknown planet, absent from all the databases. Naturally they investigate and find out precisely why...

The plot
This is a snappy read (it's only 49 pages) but a highly dramatic one, as the Doctor and Clara make their way across a planet trying to kill them, meeting a bunch of skeletons who are more than they seem - and quite disturbing. The planet itself is very well realised in print and it is the sort of world that could be realised well by Roath Lock, although the CG work would be extensive. The main villain is someone who we would feel pity for if he wasn't clearly completely evil and the ending works very well.

The regulars
Still fresh in most people's minds and until Capaldi takes over fully, the go-to for the conception of the Doctor remains Eleven. Here his overall grumpy old man persona is well-portrayed here, along with his deep anger when he finds out what is really going on. I like his dubbing of the planet "Anthony" and there is a rather good Hitchhiker's reference if you know that series.

What Clara Oswald lacks in her STR and DEX stats she more than makes up for in CHA and INT; in plain English, she may not be Buffy, but she certainly is a highly compassionate and knowledgeable woman. Negative points for the rather old cliché of her having to be rescued, but otherwise very good.

An excellent novella with a great deal going for it; definitely worth checking out.


Monday, 3 March 2014

ksabers replaces Amanda Bond as Sim Development Officer

There has been a change of Sim Development Officer due to Amanda Bond having to take a year long LOA for personal reasons. She has been replaced by ksabers.

Amanda's departure would also appear to mark the closure of the Tournament of Simulations winning sim The Elemental, but this is yet to be confirmed.
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