Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Saturday Night at MoPOP: Hall of Fame 20th anniversary party & panel

This Saturday, March 4th, a mile or so from the festivities at the Emerald City ComicCon, MoPOP, the museum formerly known as EMP, is  celebrating the 20th anniversary of its Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame with a short panel discussion, costumes, tabletop gaming on the second floor, a Star Trek discussion, and a dance party.

Dungeons & Dragons is one of the inductees this year, and I'll be on the 7:40 Q&A panel alongside Robyn Miller, one of the creators of MYST, and two other special guests. I'll have ample time to talk gaming after the panel, and admission to the event includes the ability to check out other exhibits, including the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibit I helped design.

And if you haven't seen the new Star Trek exhibit, it's great! Even friends who don't particularly like Star Trek loved it. Saturday night there's an 8:30 event, Trek Talk: Exploring Star Trek's 50-year Impact on Pop Culture, Fandom, and Geekery  that sounds like a great intro to the new gallery and includes Wende Doohan, one of the other Q&A panelists, the wife of James Doohan, who played Scotty.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Wearing the Cape: the book & the Kickstarter


My favorite superhero novels are in the Wearing the Cape series by Marion G. Harmon. The series is humane, well-written, and one of the rare superhero treatments of time travel and its consequences that builds (and foreshadows) an interesting story instead of stumbling over itself. The plots are worthwhile, the characterization is excellent, and though I sometimes disagree with the author's politics and politically-informed worldbuilding, those spots make for interesting thinking.

Harmon has always talked about his interest in roleplaying, and he's now in the last four days of a successful Kickstarter bringing his Wearing the Cape world to the FATE system. So far I haven't been a FATE player. I'm finally going to give the system a serious spin via Wearing the Cape.

One of my favorite things about the Wearing the Cape books is how well their fight scenes express the personalities of the characters. Jeff Grubb wrote about this in the Kobold Press book, The Kobold Guide to Combat. Jeff's essay is called "Why we Fight: Combat as Communication." When I read Jeff's essay, the first thing I thought of were the three books of the WtC series that had been released at that point. I'm happy to say that later books in the series have lived up to the early books' promise on this score. I suspect the RPG system can handle this well, so I'm looking forward to the release of the rulebook, which should happen via PDF a week or two after the Kickstarter ends. Yeah, this rulebook is finished.

Even if you're not interested in the Kickstarter, look for the Wearing the Cape books for great examples of combat scenes that communicate who the characters are, and why we should care.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Dragonmeet & other Meetings

I'm in London for Dragonmeet alongside the Pelgrane crew!

Last year on the train into London from Heathrow, before Dragonmeet, I was reading Lavie Tidhar's The Violent Century, glancing out of the train at delapidated warehouses as the novel's superbeings negotiated the London fog.

Saturday afternoon at last year's Dragonmeet, the man wanting to talk about roleplaying games over the table at the Pelgrane booth turned out to be Lavie Tidhar! He said that RPGs weren't something he had really tried, though the friend beside him seemed to be more familiar with the genre. I gave Lavie a copy of 13th Age, and when Ken Hite came back to the booth Ken got him a copy of The Dracula Dossier.

This year, on the train ride into London, I was reading Catherynne M. Valente's Six-Gun Snow White, a beautiful strange little book. I'm pretty sure there's no chance of seeing Catherynne M. Valente at this convention, but perhaps something similarly magical will reveal itself.

Looking forward to seeing friends from this Eastern side of the pond in a few days.


Monday, November 7, 2016

Voting & Supporting Hillary


The stamp felt perfect for this ballot! 

On the way back from casting the ballot, I passed Neil Stephenson, out for a stroll in the neighborhood he works in. I'll take passing a socially progressive writer who appreciates good weaponry as a good omen. 

Earlier in the day, I appreciated this Rolling Stone summary of why voting for Trump is a terrible thing to do. Parts left out include the GOP's position as the major political party in the world that denies climate change and Trump not caring that Russia is mucking around in USA electoral politics because it has been in his favor. That would have been some sort of deal-breaker in previous Republican candidacies--but not this one. 

Earlier in the weekend, Jonathan Tweet, Mike Selinker and Gaby Weidling and I organized a game designers' support letter for Hillary Clinton. It's called #gamers4her and it's up to 327+ signatures and still growing, as seen here

I'm aware that Clinton isn't perfect. In politics as in creative work, the perfect is the enemy of the good. Clinton will be a good president, maybe even a great one. It's time to prove that a powerful woman can be President of the United States and make a way for great women leaders of the future. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Two snippets about Glorantha and The Gods War

Sandy Petersen's The Gods War kickstarter is ending in about twelve hours and I didn't get around to mentioning that I'd written a couple short bits about Glorantha involving that project. Even if you aren't in for the mythical battles, it's worth checking out Sandy's site for wonderful art.

Snippet #1 is something I wrote for Kickstarter and the Chaosium blog, statting up one of the miniatures from Sandy Petersen's The Gods War for 13th Age in Glorantha (you can never have too many broos).

Snippet #2 is something I wrote about growing up with Glorantha and having it become my favorite game world.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

PAX Schedule and beyond

We don't have an official booth at PAX this year, and by we I mean my company Fire Opal Media and the two other companies I work with most: Pelgrane and Chaosium. We will be at GeekGirl Con on October 8th and 9th in the same Seattle Convention Center.

I'll be around PAX a bit on at least Friday and Saturday, and definitely between noon and 2:00 on Friday at the table outside the Uncle's Games room, alongside Jonathan Tweet and Wade Rockett.

Here's the full schedule of of game designers who'll be at that table during the weekend. Vlaada Chvatil isn't scheduled to join us, but I'm glad his new version of Codenames is sharing the billing!


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

GenCon Notes: Lights! Camera! Action!

I had a great GenCon. So did most of my friends, both old and new. I’ll post a couple highlights, now and maybe later.

Lights!
Will Jobst and I left the exhibitors’ hall on Saturday night and went upstairs to watch the 13th Age and GUMSHOE games in the Pelgrane-focused game room. I admit that I was 13th Age-focused: where GUMSHOE is concerned, I’m not really a pro.

Early on, we were startled by what looked like impromptu chair dancing at a 13th Age table. Everyone’s hands went up in the air, the bass started thumping, hands spinning as disco balls. Turned out that the first time the sorcerer had used their dancing lights spell, the table discoed-out; and now it was a thing for the rest of the session! Dancing lights! I thought about filming it but decided to let it fly solo in memory.

The musical ambush left us happy and gave us a story to glide on the rest of the evening as we joined Steve and Paula Dempsey to ramble through the entire convention center.

Camera!
The night before the show, Eric Lang won the Diana Jones Award! I’d talked with him earlier in the day and he said he had zero chance of winning—he expected it to go to Pandemic Legacy by Rob Daviau and Matt Leacock. We agreed that if Eric won, I should yell “Daviau was robbed!” Which I did, utterly happy and knowing no one could hear me, since you can’t hear much of anything at the Diana Jones Award ceremony and certainly not when everyone is roaring for Eric!

Then I got to see Greg Stafford, last year’s winner for The Guide to Glorantha, hand the award over to Eric, and the whole thing made me so happy I *did* get out my phone to take a picture. I knew it would be crappy but I didn’t care, it’s the fact, not the photo. That’s Jeff Richard of Chaosium in the middle, and Luke Peterschmidt all shiny in the foreground.


Action!

I knew that Upper Deck would be releasing the Legendary game I designed, Big Trouble in Little China. It’s a playful take on the Legendary deckbuilding game system designed by Devin Low for the Marvel Legendary games. Big Trouble in Little China was a game I had a huge amount of fun designing but I wasn’t sure how much of a marketing push the game would be getting, given that the film has been out for awhile. I’d heard that there was something going on with the GenCon lanyards, but I didn’t know that everyone wearing a GenCon lanyard would have Big Trouble in Little China art around their necks. And I had no idea that Upper Deck was gonna set up a Big Trouble exhibit with the Pork Chop Express big rig in the dealer’s hall! Right alongside a bit of a Chinatown shrine and a signboard for Egg Foo Yong Tours. That’s some action.