9 Sept 2021

Test Run - Sentinel Comics the Roleplaying Game - The Villain

Back again with Greater Than Games' Sentinel Comics the Roleplaying Game.  This time around, the villain creation method.  Villains in the game get a streamlined approach, making it easier for the GM to prep.  Villainous henchmen and minions are even easier, but, for now, just the villain.

27 Aug 2021

Brace Yourself!

November is coming!

Yep, NaNoWriMo is just over two months away.  I should at least start figuring out what I want to write.  I have a few possibilities right now, but nothing certain.  I'd create a poll, but I'm not likely to stick to the results.  Maybe if there's a request and it's not binding.  Let me know.

I do have a few possibilities already.  I'll present them in no particular order, with the parts I have figured out and the parts that I need to fill in before November.

Shadows of Tukayyid A BattleTech story, most likely done as a series of novels and novellas.  I've been in the mood for giant stompy mecha action thanks to reviewing Pacific Rim: The BlackBattleTech is based on giant stompy mecha shooting and stomping each other.  The story will happen after the Clan Invasion is stopped after the Battle of Tukayyid and features two veterans of the fight.  The first is former ComStar Adept Joanna Kirk, pilot of a Black Knight, and Rebecca, a former Clan Ghost Bear freeborn MechWarrior, as they join a Free Worlds League mercenary unit that is looking to expand with pilots with experience fighting the Clans.  The first mission is forming in my head, and other missions are starting to come together.  I need to figure out other pilots in the lance and the mercenary company, though they are supporting cast.

The Courier  Initially conceived as a gender-flipped version of The Transporter, because why not, it's starting to get inspirations from Gunpowder Milkshake.  Maybe not the sisterhood of assassins based in a library, but the creation of connections between family who haven't really spoken to each other.  The main characters are Courtney, the courier, and her niece, Amy, who lives with her aunt after the death of her parents a few years prior.  The base plot is worked out, as is the rough map of where they're going.  The story should be a novel and could lead into a series if wanted.

Streetwise Valkyries I've mentioned the Valkyries before.  There's two possibilities to go with.  One is working on a few stories in the same vein as Subject 13 and I do have a few plots in mind for that.  The other potential is a crossover with Subject 13, turning Nasty into the Spider-Man or the Wolverine of the setting.  I have ideas for the crossover, so time will tell here.

Untitled Shadowrun story  I have a character idea for Shadowrun that dates back to the first edition, an elven decker who lost her parents during the Night of Rage and was subsequently taken into safety in the Ork Underground.  I've updated the character with each edition, but I never rebooted her.  Instead, I've aged her with the setting.  A recent edition, fifth, I think, had me realize that her career arc and mine were similar.  Ignoring that Skater's career has been mostly illegal and mine has been strictly legal, we've both gone through a number of major tech changes during our careers.  This gives me the hook I needed for an idea I've been playing with, and I do have the rest of the team worked out.  The first story might be novel length; follow ups could be serialized.

This isn't all the ideas, just the most prominent.  There's always a chance that a different story pops up and demands my attention, like The Elf's Prisoner had.  However, chances are good one of these will be chosen.

Mandatory cat photo (model is Jewel, photo by author)

Friday, Lost in Translation continues at Psycho Drive-In.

Saturday, Lost in Translation can be found at The Seventh Sanctum.

12 Aug 2021

Cyberpunk 2020 v Shadowrun - Intro

Something I've been meaning to try for a while is creating similar characters in the top cyberpunk RPGs from the 80s.  Cyberpunk 2020 is getting noticed again thanks to Cyberpunk 2077 while Shadowrun recently had its sixth edition released.  Let's see how similar characters compare.

There are a few ground rules.  The first, no magic.  Cyberpunk 2020 does not have magic.  That means, all characters will be human,  There's just no getting around it.  Second, the characters have to be viable in both games.  That shouldn't be an issue, but some of the roles in 2020 don't quite work in Shadowrun.  Third, gear needs to be equivalent.  This is going to be the tough one.  I can't go by costs; the two games use a different base of reference.  Instead of going by costs, I'll be going by rough equivalence - a heavy pistol is a heavy pistol in both games.  The same goes with cybernetics; enhanced reflexes are done differently in the two games but are still enhanced reflexes.  Finally, core games only.  No supplements, at least mechanically.

What does that leave me?  My plan is to use ideas from cyberpunk novels.  Character types like the Street Samurai and the Hacker, both from Neuromancer, a combat driver, loosely based off Cowboy from Hardwired, a combat medic, like Nadia from Trauma Team, and possibly a Rocker, like Priss from Bubblegum Crisis.  Try to tell me either version of Bubblegum Crisis isn't cyberpunk.

Obviously, this will take some time.  Expect the first comparison to be the Street Samurai.  The concept is simple, street muscle with cybernetics.  Until then, chummers and choombas, keep your stick on the ice.

Friday, Lost in Translation continues at Psycho Drive-In.

Saturday, Lost in Translation can be found at The Seventh Sanctum.

5 Aug 2021

Test Run - Sentinel Comics the Roleplaying Game - Time Travelling Ada Lovelace

 A weird idea struck me for Greater Than Games' Sentinel Comics the Roleplaying Game.  I`ll go through the same steps as the last two times, using the directed method that I used with Ringette.

22 Jul 2021

Test Run - The Return of Bert Ernesto!

 A long time back, I was playing around with Margaret Weis Productions' Demon Hunters, based on the setting created by the Dead Gentlemen, who also provided details for the game itself.  As time progresses, as time tends to do, games evolve.  The most recent version, Demon Hunters - A Comedy of Terrors takes the lessons learned from the original and improves the game.  However, since this is about Bert Ernesto and not Lost in Translation, enough about the mechanics.  Time to create!

1 Jul 2021

Writing Inspirations from a Non-Writer

A couple of friends have already gone through who and what has influenced them in their writing.  Serdar Yagulalp and Steve Savage have listed what has influenced and inspired their work.  I'm going to add my two cents, which in Canadian, means nothing because we don't have pennies.

I've probably mentioned that I'm not a natural writer.  Everything linked in the side bar to the right and over at Lost in Translation isn't a mirage, but my approach might give writing teachers fits.  So, keeping with the format Serdar and Steve have, here goes!

Tabletop RPGs

  • Characters are more than just numbers on a page.  Most games include advice on how to create and play a character.  Games with specific settings give information that could influence a character.  Likewise, characters in a novel are more than just a description or a stereotype.  Archetypes are useful as a starting point to build on, not an end goal.
  • Characters live in their settings.  Seems obvious, but a character in a fantasy world where magic is wondrous will have a different take on their life from a character who lives on board a starship.  They may share outlooks, but they'll have different approaches to problem solving.

High School Geography

  • Geographic features don't pop out of nowhere.  This goes towards worldbuilding and why I could build a setting on the fly a few years ago.  It becomes easier to work out what the climate and vegetation is like once I know where the mountains are.
  • Cities aren't always designed.  Grade 10 Urban Geography has stuck with me.  Cities exist for a reason.  The older the city, the less likely there is to be a grid-pattern.  Streets are twisty.  A planned settlement has straight streets, except for suburbs.  This also goes towards worldbuilding, so if I need a village, town, or city, I can get the basics down quickly then fill out details like neighbourhoods and entertainment centres.
  • Water is life.  Back to worldbuilding again.  Settlements need water, for drinking, for growing food, for shipping and receiving products.  Water is also important while writing.  Getting up from the keyboard to get a drink of water does two things, it gives me a break and it keeps me hydrated.

Anime, Manga, and Comics

  • Drama drives the story.  I lumped the three together because they each provided different examples.  The series I enjoy tend not to be gimmicky but instead have inter-character conflict and awkward moments.  I can see the influence Marmalade Boy has on my works.

Lost in Translation

  • You can learn from mistakes; they don't have to be your own.  You might be wondering why I have something I'm writing is in the list.  Lost in Translation let me analyze works I'd normally not take a deeper look into.  Figuring out what when wrong means working out the mechanics of storytelling, what works, and what doesn't.  The earnest failures are the best to analyze; the different between talent and skill counts.
  • It doesn't hurt to try a work in a different medium.  Even if the result doesn't work, figuring out how what I'm working on can translate helps.  My writing approach tends to start from a visual, so already I have to translate the pictures and animation into words.  Why not work out what something would look like going the other way?  There's insight to be had.

The above list is probably not comprehensive.  I'm sure there are little things here and there that I've missed that are obvious to other.  But, these are the majors I can think of.  If you want to do something similar, drop a line with Steve Savage.  He wants to gather all these sorts of posts into one spot.

Friday, Lost in Translation continues at Psycho Drive-In.

Saturday, Lost in Translation can be found at The Seventh Sanctum.

Happy Canada Day!

This is a rough Canada Day.  Not from the pandemic, though that isn't helping.  The discovery of over a thousand graves at former residential schools can't be forgotten.  Children taken away from their culture and families who never got to return.  This is a dark stain on Canada.  It's long past time for reconciliation and restitution, for with out restitution, reconciliation is just hollow words.  Let this Canada Day be the day wounds can be healed, for we can be better.

Happy Canada Day.