Friday, 28 November 2008

RPG PDFs: An Indulgence!

Thanks to a post over on the Evil DM's blog, I have just spent a hour fighting my way through the RPG Now website and spent around $70 on PDF downloads!

But it was all worth it in the end!

Basically, Adamant Entertainment, an RPG publisher is having a sale over the next three or four days and selling all it's PDF products for $1 each.

THRILLING TALES: Omnibus Edition

They produce the Thrilling Tales Pulp rules for the d20 system* as well as various other games and accessories.

Anyway, I couldn't resist. I already had 3 or 4 of the Thrilling Tales books, just to see what they were like, but now I have the whole lot!

I also picked up the Sword and Planet rules called Mars , and it's two supplements.

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Finally, while looking through Adamants listings I saw that they also do a series of PDF books for a steampunk RPG system called The Imperial Age. I couldn't resist them either!

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I have to say, I have used RPG Now before and it has worked perfectly well. However, today as I was filling up the shopping basket (remember, we are talking approximately 70 items) the shopping basket reset itself several times and I had to start over!

That would not be to much of a problem if you could add multiple items at once, but no I had to re-add each item individually aarrgh!!!

Anyway in the end I got around it by placing several smaller orders, instead of one big one!

*Anyone who knows me will know I have a strong dislike for the d20 system. However both Thrilling Tales and The Imperial Age offer so much potential source material that could be used for both pulp/steampunk table wargaming or alternative RPG rules, I felt I could not miss them.

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Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Survivors Part 2

In my previous post I was fairly pleased with the start of the re-imagined Survivors series.
The second episode went out last night and I get the feeling that the show fell into a pattern that will be repeated over the next few episodes.
I still enjoyed it, but I am just starting to get a feeling that I may get bored with it fairly quickly!
Both shows have finished with scenes from some un-named lab, that clearly is isolated from the plague that has wiped everyone out and also looks like it may have something to do with the origins of said plague. For me, this is possibly the only light at the end of the tunnel now as I don't really see the show going anywhere other than turning in to some new age soap opera at the moment.
The trailer for next weeks show does hint that the action may step up a notch, with a tantalising shot of a helicopter flying over the actors and the return of the government minister from the first episode, so I am hoping that my feelings about show no.2 are somewhat misleading!
Anyway, we'll have to wait and see...
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Monday, 24 November 2008

Survivors

Survivors
Image via Wikipedia
The first, feature length, episode of Survivors ran last night on the BBC.
I was a big fan of the original series that ran back in 1975/6 (I watched it in re-runs about 10 years ago - only being 10 years old when it first ran).
Terry Nation, the creator of Blake's 7 and much of Dr.Who wrote the original series, and even though this re-imagining has brought it bang up to date it still seems to have the original feel that Nation gave to it.
For anyone who does not know the premise of the series, in basic terms more than 99% of the worlds population is wiped out by some kind of virus or chemical agent and the "survivors" of the title have to come to terms with the loss of everyone they new and also start to learn how to survive without al of the modern comforts we are all so used to.
The original series dealt with the characters learning to survive in a more or less medieval Britain and then as the story developed it moved on to the slow rebuilding of a national infrastructure.
As with all dystopian stories there are the typical run-ins with groups of marauders and day to day problems of modern folk trying to survive in the "wild".
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The new cast seem to work well in the new episode, with a general mix of different types and backgrounds. It will be interesting to see how they interact as the show develops.
I am pleased with this opening to the new series, as too many "re-imagined" show fail to deliver on so many levels. This one held my interest very well, and I am looking forward to part 2 tomorrow night!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

First real snow of the winter!

In fact probably more snow than we have had for a few winters!
I helped my eldest son build a snowman this morning and then we let the younger one out for his first experience of snow!
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Not bad for mid November!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Beastmaster TV show

I was channel hopping the other day and I happened to stop at Zone Horror. Now I don't normally go in for horror that much, I don't mind a bit of horror mixed in with Sci-fi or fantasy, but pure horror usually leaves me cold.
 
I check out Zone Horror occasionally just to see what's on!
 
BeastMaster (TV series)
Image via Wikipedia
 

Anyway, I found a TV show called Beastmaster, which appears to be a re-working of the Marc Singer movie from the 80's that followed in the wake of Conan The Barbarian.

Being a long term Conan fan who was in his teens in the 1980's, I must admit to having a liking for tacky Sword and Sorcery movies, after watching all those "straight to video" movies that appeared with video rentals!

The Beastmaster is a barbarian character that can talk to animals and see through their eyes. He has four animals that travel with him, two ferrets (who act as his thieves) an eagle (his eyes) and a tiger (....).

Beastmaster is pretty low budget, clearly being one of those series that sprang up after the success of Hercules and Zena. Generally I can watch these cheap and cheerful TV shows for the campy, tacky storylines and the occasional cringe at terrible acting, sets and plots, however they are usually very weak can only be taken in small doses. Still I have enjoyed the couple of shows I have seen and I have set the series to record, so I guess it can't be that bad!

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At the very least I think this show would be interesting to roleplayers to give them some ideas for developing adventures.

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Friday, 14 November 2008

The Collected Poems of Robert E. Howard

Robert E. Howard, from Wikipedia

Image by Thomas Roche via Flickr

I have just put my order in for The Collected Poems of Robert E. Howard. I have been waiting for this book for sometime and even though it is going to be quite pricey (especially with shipping to the UK) I couldn't resist it!

The Robert E. Howard Foundation is doing a great job of preserving and promoting Howard's works. I am into my second year of membership and it is gratifying to know that my fees are producing some excellent results.

I have not managed to justify buying the three volume Collected Letters yet, but hopefully it is only a matter of time before fold and place an order for those as well!

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Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Monday, 10 November 2008

I visited the cinema twice in one week!

Film poster for Kung Fu Panda - Copyright 2007...
Image via Wikipedia
Something unheard of in recent years.
Last Monday was Quantum of Solace (as previously reviewed), and then on Saturday morning I took No.1 son to see Kung Fu Panda (along with his grandma).
I am happy to report that all three of us had a very entertaining hour and a half! My son (4 1/2 years) managed to remain pretty interested all the way through, with minor distractions, i.e. being fascinated by the projection room window and also the dust floating in the light from said room!
Kung Fu Panda is a great little film and even Jack Black did not annoy me too much (I like him in small doses, but usually cannot handle a whole film with him in).
There is a lot of fighting in the film (well it is a Kung Fu film) but most of it is done to comedic effect. There are a couple of very dark moments that I was a little concerned about my son's reaction to, but he seemed to brush them off without a second thought!
So generally a fun film that Grandma, Dad and Son all enjoyed, and with Saturday morning cinema price (£1 per ticket for anyone) a great morning out on a cold and windy Aberdeen day!
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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Quantum of Solace and Spooks(MI-5) - Some Spoilers

Quantum of Solace

Image via Wikipedia

We had the chance of a baby sitter on Monday night so decided to take a trip to the cinema. With the new James Bond movie out on Friday it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss!

The film picks up almost directly where Casino Royale finished, and is in much the same gritty hard fighting kind of style. I am sure some fans of the older Bond movies will dislike this one as much as Casino Royale!

I like Daniel Craig's version of Bond, it seems more real than previous incarnations (although some of the punishment he takes is still a bit beyond belief).

However, the plot of Quantum of Solace is somewhat lacking in depth. It feels like an interlude between real stories.

It clearly is setting things up for the next film (or several films) with the new evil organisation (Quantum) taking over from SMERSH and the like,  in the older films!

It was entertaining enough and I may buy the DVD when it comes out (mainly because I have the Casino Royale DVD). On the whole though I would say that I think as far as modern spy dramas go I am much preferring the new series of Spooks (MI-5 in the US)!

So far I have only managed to catch the first two shows in the new series of Spooks (show 3 is sitting on my DVR), but as usual they are not afraid to kill off lead actors, with Adam Carter (Rupert Penry-Jones)  being blown up in the first show!

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It is as hard and gritty as Quantum of Solace, but there seems to be a lot more invested in the characters! With Bond you don't get a chance to feel for the characters you just sit back and watch the action.

I must admit that I am finally starting to think that Bond is running out of steam as a major cinema franchise. I had high hopes of the re-imagined movies with Daniel Craig, but unless they can really pull a better plot out of the bag for the next movie, it is likely to be the last I watch!

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