Monday 2 December 2013

50 things a geek should know

So how geek are you? Considering I write a blog that's all about geeky stuff I can safely say that I'm definitely one of them. However, I found that I wasn't able to admit to knowing everything on the infographic below - 50 Things a Geek Should Know. How do you stack up?
50 Things a Geek Should Know

Courtesy of: Infographic Journal

Saturday 9 November 2013

Exploring racism in RPGs

I was recently reading about Shadowrun 5e when I saw that one of the drawbacks your character can have is being a racist. This got me thinking about how racism is used in games and how GMs and players can handle it.

Obviously racism in the real world is abhorrent. It's utterly reprehensible and yet the world is still rife with it. When you look at games, usually fantasy and sci fi, you will often find in-built racial tensions as part and parcel of the system or setting. This extends from literature, where books like The Lord of the Rings show hatred between dwarves and elves, one of the more classic dichotomies. Of course races in these instances are essentially different species. In the real world we're all human, no matter where you're from, but in a game human is just one type of sentient creature .

Still, racism can be something that challenges the players. In my own campaign setting, Peakvale, racism is actually one of the driving forces behind the political upheaval occurring in the autocracy. Humans and halflings are the favoured races, with better jobs and prospects whereas everyone else lives in squalor. One race has even been exiled from the country. So it sets up a situation where a group of characters with a mixture of races will lead to some interesting choices and sometimes uncomfortable decisions. The setting doesn't present racism for racism's sake. There is a clear problem in the political system and characters must decide where they stand and how much they risk.

What shouldn't happen at the table is tension between races as some kind of novelty. If it's something you're going to feature in your game then it needs to be there to tell a story and challenge the players. Don't cheapen it. If a player is going too far and making others feel uncomfortable then call them out. Adding racial tension to a game should never ever be an excuse for vulgarity. It should be an opportunity to explore ideas and preconceptions in a safe environment.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Marvel teams up with Netflix for four new shows and a crossover miniseries

Goddamn,  Marvel is so hot right now.  As if the house of ideas needs to prove once again why a) it's a cash cow of gigantic proportions and b) its cinematic universe is becoming more like its comic counterpart, they decide to hit us with this news. Disney, Marvel and Netflix have struck up a deal to produce four series based on superheroes as well as a crossover miniseries. Holy hell.

Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Daredevil and Jessica Jones will each get a 13 episode series. Thus is confirmed before even a pilot has been made. Not only that but there will also be a Defenders miniseries to tie each series together. Talk about ambitious.

Think of the crazy potential this has for future movies and Agents of Shield. I'm salivating.

Anatomy of an RPG city

I think more than any location in RPGs I'm drawn to the city. I don't know whether that's because I'm a city dweller, but there's something about a heaving metropolis that fires up my synapses and sends my imagination into a frenzy. It's the dark, twisted streets, the bustling markets, the palatial homes of the aristocracy peering down their noses at the slums of the fevered peasantry.  It's the alleys and the dive bars, the parks and the breweries. A world away from the lush green landscapes adventurers often traverse.

To me a city in an RPG has to have a character of its very own. It lives, breathes, sees and sometimes even dreams. Look to examples like Discworld's Ankh Morpork, Batman's Gotham or Fighting Fantasy's Port Blacksand. Each has its own personality and way it operates. Even the brief overview of Highbridge in my own Halberd Fantasy Roleplaying goes a long way in showing what kind of a city it is.

I hate a clinical city. One with bright buildings where the sun always shines and the populace is bland. Don't get me wrong,  there's a place for this kind of city, but I take mine without milk and sugar. I love dark places where death is a possibility any night of the week, where the cobblestones have been worn from horse and cart commerce and where the upstanding gentleman is your enemy and a cut throat street urchin an ally.

So what does a good, the thriving game city need to captivate its players? 

-Notable NPCs: whether it's blind Baron Von Wildenwrath or Doris Ealy, the clairvoyant maid,  your city should have at least 10 NPCs of note with their own back stories and quirks. 

-Conflict: Your city should have both inner and outer conflict. Create 5 main factions within the city walls, each with their own motive. They could be good or bad. Secret societies, gangs and even unions can be the source of conflict in a city. Then think about those outside the city who could be a threat,  such as raiders, armies, dragons etc.

- Politics: this can also cross over with conflict, but you should figure out how your city is run. Rarely should the ruler be benevolent as that's frankly less interesting. Greedy mayors, tortured advisors,  well-meaning but weak statesmen. Is it a democracy? A pluticracy? Maybe a dictatorship? Is there the smell of revolution in the air?

These are just some examples of what a good city needs. Let me know in the comments if there is anything else you think belongs on the list.

Monday 28 October 2013

New T&T adventure Death at Grimwood Hall out now

The latest instalment of the Peakvale series of adventures for Tunnels and Trolls from Trollish Delver Games and Peryton Publishing is out now.

Death at Grimwood Hall is a familiar tale with a twist - taking inspiration from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Hammer Horror movies with a dash of romance - perfect for a Halloween game.

Sunday 27 October 2013

Daredevil to end with issue #36 (boo, hiss)

Dammit all, Marvel. Daredevil artist Chris Samnee took to Twitter to a) post his awesome cover for #36 and b) to deliver the news that Marvel plans to end the current run on Daredevil with that issue. Now, to be fair, they are going to be relaunching the Man Without Fear with a brand new #1 and Mark Waid's sensational run has had a good innings, but it's always sad to see a good book come to a close.

Saturday 19 October 2013

The cancellation of The Fearless Defenders is a sad loss to the comics world

Art by Skottie Young/Marvel

Yesterday news came out that writer Cullen Bunn had announced that The Fearless Defenders will end in December with #12. Fearless is known for being one of the few mainstream books fronted by an all-female cast, which was a refreshing change from the tokenism of the past. Not only that, but it was a genuinely heartfelt, funny and exciting comic - not to mention having some of the greatest covers on the shelves, courtesy of Mark Brooks.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Monte Cook's new RPG The Strange launches on Kickstarter

Not resting on his laurels just yet, legendary designer of Numenera and all round hunk of hotsauce Monte Cook has launched his new Kickstarter for a new RPG project called The Strange.

This time, Cook isn't alone, with another titan by his side - Bruce Cordell. While the Kickstarter has only been live for a day, it's already surpassed its goal by $50,000. Wowzers!

Wednesday 9 October 2013

The Forgotten Spell Gamebook Hits Mobiles

Tin Man Games, well known for their Gamebook Adventures digital gamebooks and licensed apps based on Fighting Fantasy and Judge Dredd are aiming for a slightly younger market with the release of The Forgotten Spell . The first title in the Spellcaster Trilogy is released as an interactive book app today on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Appstore for Android today!

Why You Should Be Watching Sleepy Hollow

I realise I haven't been talking about the new batch of fall shows we have on our screens, such as the excellent Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (more on that in another post). To be honest, I'm not watching many of them, aside from Modern Family and Bob's Burgers, but there's one show that's got me hook, line and sinker. That show is Sleepy Hollow.

Saturday 5 October 2013

Tin Man Games Releases Curse Of The Assassin And Turns 5

I don't know if you've been reading The Trollish Delver for very long, but if you have you may realise that I have all the love in the world for Tin Man Games. The app developer is celebrating a milestone this year with five years of sweet gaming business with the release of Assassin in Orlandes sequel Curse of the Assassin.

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Numenera Is Weird And I Love It

Oh Monte, you delightful minx man. Last week we finally got together to play a game of Numenera, a game that I was back in the GM seat for. We also have an extra addition to the group in the form of my esteemed colleague Sam, who's decided to play some Texan crocodile Dundee, which is just fine by me. Anyway, more of that later.

Tuesday 1 October 2013

Way Of The Tiger - The Challenge Of Moving From Novel To Gamebook Writing

As some of you already know, The Way of the Tiger is coming back in a big way. The Kickstarter has decimated its goal of $10,000 and is now ploughing upwards to lofty financial heights.

So it gives me enormous pleasure to welcome once again to The Trollish Delver my good friend David Walters, who is writing the prequel gamebook - Ninja!. This is the third and final part of an epic post about writing the book, the first of which appeared on Brewin's blog and the second on Stuart Lloyd's.

Without further ado, here's Mr Walters with the skinny on the new book.

Saturday 28 September 2013

Who Is Killing The Great Capes Of Heropa? Available On Amazon

A while back I introduced readers to Andrez Bergen's fantastic superhero novel Who Is Killing The Great Capes Of Heropa. The book has become critically acclaimed and is now available to buy from Amazon.

The plot is very noir with lovely heapings of Kirby-esque four colour sensibilities and I highly recommend you read it.

Amazon blurb:

Heropa: A vast, homogenized city patrolled by heroes and populated by adoring masses. A pulp fiction fortress of solitude for crime-fighting team the Equalizers, led by new recruit Southern Cross - a lifetime away from the rain-drenched, dystopic metropolis of Melbourne. Who, then, is killing the great Capes of Heropa? In this paired homage to detective noir from the 1940s and the '60s Marvel age of trail-blazing comic books, Andrez Bergen gloriously redefines the mild-mannered superhero novel.

Go buy it!

Friday 27 September 2013

The Way of the Tiger Kickstarter Goes Live

The classic 80's gamebook sensation The Way of the Tiger comes roaring back to life in a new Kickstarter project, complete with all six original books in hardback plus a prequel and the 'lost' seventh book.

Sunday 8 September 2013

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D UK Premier Date Confirmed

It's official - Channel 4 in the UK will be showing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D starting 8pm Friday 27th September, just four days after it premiers in America on ABC.


DC Comics Wants You To Draw Harley Quinn Committing Suicide...Naked

It's not been the best week for DC. While Dan DiDio undertakes damage control with regards to the Batwoman creative team leaving, DC hosts a new talent contest in which artists must draw Harley Quinn attempting to off herself while in the nude.

DC Gives Reason For Pulling Lesbian Marriage Batwoman Storyline

One of the great success stories of DC's New 52 was Batwoman's stand-alone ongoing series by J.H.Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, with Elegy being one of the finest stories the company has put out in a while. Now that news has come out that the current creative team will no longer be working on the book because of editorial differences, DC has caused uproar in the community leading to questions about editorial integrity and freedom.

Monday 2 September 2013

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Has "Knocked It Out Of The Park"

Marvel's 2013 film servings may not be quite finished yet, with the release of Thor: The Dark World in the UK at the end of October and at the beginning of November for the US, but that's not going to stop the buzz for one of next year's biggest blockbusters: Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There's apparently good reason for it too.

Saturday 31 August 2013

Ivory Path: A Storytelling Game Using Dominoes

I love designing games and I set myself a little challenge this week to create a storytelling system that utilises a unique mechanic. I had quite a few ideas, including one that used a real lotus as a game piece, but one mechanic has stuck with me ever since I thought about it a couple of years ago: dominoes.

So I've created Ivory Path, a game that lets you and your friends create any story you wish with a focus on characters. This is pretty much in the alpha stage at the moment but it would be great to get some feedback on it from you guys.

You can download your free copy of Ivory Path here. You can leave feedback in the comments below or send me an email. I appreciate your time.

Thursday 29 August 2013

Wormholes Are Our Best Bet For Time Travel, Says Astrophysicist

Time machines - what havoc we could wreak with one of those babies. While the often used staple of sci-fi flicks isn't going to happen anytime soon (or at all), astrophysicist Eric W. Davies says that we need to look to wormholes for our era-hopping antics.

While physicists have proven that particles like muons can be sent forwards in time by manipulating their gravity, the notion of going backwards in time encounters a heap of problems. 

Davies, who works at EarthTech International Institute for Advanced Studies in Austin, says that a wormhole could open up a passage in space-time that could send you back in time.

Monday 26 August 2013

Behold The Halberd Fantasy Roleplaying Online Character Creator

It's been almost a week since I released Halberd Fantasy Roleplaying and already wizkid +Peter Gagliardi has put together the bare bones of an awesome character generator for the game.

5 awesome characters you can create in Halberd Fantasy Roleplaying

With Halberd Fantasy Roleplaying just released, I wanted to share some of the infinite number of characters that you can create in the game. The rules contain a series of pre-made character archetypes but also stress that players can easily make their own archetypes and races.

With that, I give you 5 characters you could be creating in Halberd...

5 Insane Pieces Of Video Game Merchandise

Game sales can only take you so far, so developers often look to merchandise to make some more dollar. Most of it is forgiveable - a Mario t-shirt, Zelda cuff links, or a pen shaped like Samus, but other merchandise somehow bafflingly got onto the market with the full approval of all involved. Here's five pieces of insane merchandise for video games.

Sunday 25 August 2013

7 Marvel Comics That Should Be Made Into Movies

Marvel have the sleeper hold on Hollywood at the moment, with new films on the horizon for at least the next eight years. Later this year we Have Thor: The Dark World to look forward to and in 2014 Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier will hopefully wow us like previous celluloid efforts.

But there are so many heroes and teams that should get their own films too. Here's seven of them...