Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How about some Fallout 3 music?

The Ink Spots - I Don't Want to Set the World on Fire. Enjoy.

Speaking of Fallout 3, I'm also planning on expanding Swords, Dragons, and Nerds to include post-apocalyptic fiction. I know the stuff usually falls under science fiction or speculative fiction, but I think it would fit better here than on Rayguns and Space Suits, which I want to keep focused on scifi like space opera, military science fiction, and such.

The OSR is not dead, it's just regenerating

Granted, I'm not a tabletop RPG player and have no connection to the OSR - Old School Renaissance, the community/subculture that popped up in response to dissatisfaction with Wizards of the Coasts' handling of D&D - but I'm a bit bewildered by the numerous proclamations going around about it being dead or dying. The reason behind these proclamations is the fact that at the recent GenCon, WOTC announced that they were going to be publishing their entire catalog of tabletop RPGs as PDFs, including the old D&D stuff. Somehow, having the original games and campaign settings that so many retro-clones are based on or inspired by making a comeback means that the OSR has no meaning or purpose anymore.

To be frank, this is complete, total, and utter bullshit of the highest order. I mean, are gamers supposed to put their copies of Dungeon Crawl Classic, Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, etc. to the torch now? Are Kickstarters for new retro-clones supposed to be abandoned, now that WOTC is putting  their old shit back out there? As I already said, the OSR is a reaction to and against the way WOTC has been handling the Dungeons & Dragons property, presumably ever since they bought out TSR, Inc. in 1997. Now, the OSR needs to transform from a rebellion to a celebration of old school gaming. Think of it like how on Doctor Who, the Doctor regenerates whenever he's gravely injured. You can play Blackmoor and still play DCC, no one's going to chop off your dice throwing hand, bro.

Like I said, I'm not a tabletop gamer and my only connection to OSR is from the blogs I like to read, but it just seems downright retarded to abandon an entire subgenre of gaming and its subculture for no real reason at all.

Friday, August 24, 2012

In which I answer 20 questions about stuff

Questions via Ray from Don't throw a 1.

1. Favourite Wargaming period and why?
Well, I'm not a wargamer, though I do plan on collecting miniatures when I have the money to. But, I don't think I have a preferred era - they all look good to me. I would be interested in doing something somewhat modern, like Franco-Prussian, Russo-Japanese War, WWI, or Korea.

2. Next period, money no object?

3. Favourite 5 films?
A tough one, for sure. I'd have to count the LOTR Trilogy as a single movie, since it told a continuous story. Superman I & II, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. There are many more, of course.

4. Favourite 5 TV series?
Doctor Who, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Big Bang Theory, Adventure Time, pro wrestling, Castle.

5. Favourite book and author?
Boy, not making it easy, eh, Ray? It's hard to pick between John Scalzi, David Weber, Elizabeth Moon, and Jack Campbell, but I'll have to go with Scalzi. Damn fine scifi writer. Old Man's War by Scalzi is great.

6. Greatest General? Can’t count yourself!!
I'm going to say Dwight Eisenhower because of his position as Supreme Allied Commander. I really respect and admire the fact that he was willing to take the fall if D-Day had failed.
7. Favourite Wargames rules?

8. Favourite Sport and team?
What's a sport? Is it a kind of cheese or something?

9. If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?
Back to 1998 and knock some sense into my dumb fool head about taking my education seriously and staying in school.

10. Last meal on Death Row?

Amazing Super Powers!
 Hey, it's worth a shot.

11. Fantasy relationship and why?
Morgon Ironwolf. Oh, you didn't mean that kind of fantasy! Honestly can't think of anyone.

12. If your life were a movie, who would play you?
Chuck Norris. No, no, probably Michael Cera, because he's the default nerd actor.
13. Favourite Comic Superhero?
Any superheroine who fights crime in a bodice, fishnet, and high heels, but somehow avoids a "wardrobe malfunction". Aside from that, Hawkeye.
14. Favourite Military quote?
"They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can't get away from us now!" - General Chesty Puller.
15. Historical destination to visit?
Battle Abbey, just for its name alone.
16. Biggest Wargaming regret?
17. Favourite Fantasy job?
Not having to work. I'm stealing an answer from TamsinP from Wargaming Girl. Actually, if I were rich, I'd probably open a combination comic book store/game shop.

18. Favourite Song Top 5?
None come to mind.

19. Favourite Wargaming Moment?

20. The miserable Git question, what upsets you?
 American politics and political system. Being stuck with two major parties is just plain shitty.

Magic and aging

What if using magic caused a character to age? An interesting question, one inspired by Brendan of Untimately, who wrote a post back in June about it. His idea, was a game mechanic that sees a character aging days as a consequence of using healing magic. Another chap, Talysman, responded with the idea of the aging occurring as a chance, in that when a player rolls die to see how much HP they've recovered, there's a chance the character could age years. Brendan did a later post about it and he explains it better than I can:
Whenever a character is healed magically, there is a percentage chance to age one year equal to the number of HP so healed, minus the character's constitution modifier. For example, if a character with 10 (average) constitution is magically healed 6 HP, there is a 6 percent chance of ageing. If a character had a +1 constitution modifier, the same healing would result in a 5 percent chance of aging.

Holy crap, one year strong!

So, one year ago I decided to create a side blog for my new found (and quite flourishing) fandom in fantasy fiction. At the time, I was seemingly making nothing but fantasy related posts on my other blog and fearing an unintended take over/assimilation, Swords, Dragons, and Nerds was born. Honestly, I didn't think it would last. It was a spur of the moment thing and I had tried running multiple blogs before with little success, so I figured it would last two weeks (if I was lucky) and then I'd just roll it into Giant-Size Nerd-Thing!.

Welp, I was wrong. And while my posting has declined a bit, I still have a love for fantasy that rivals my love for science fiction and everything else. I'm going to try and give my posting rate an uptick and make those posts more substantial than just pictures and comics. I have a lot of ideas rolling around in my head that I want to get out.

Now for some stats:

Posts: 129 (130 counting this one)
Hits: 8,459 (second highest of my four blogs)
Followers: 21 (holy crap!)

Thanks to all of my readers, followers, and everyone who's put me on their blogroll.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Cinematic trailer for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria

Just to be clear, the Pandarans were around before Kung Fu Panda. Interestingly, Pandarans were originally an April Fools joke for Warcraft III that Blizzard staged years ago. Since then, Pandarans have become a running joke with fans and I guess Blizzard decided to finally put them in a game. I don't play WoW, but the video is spectacular.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Speaking of The Hall of the Dead

It was okay, nothing to write home about. I thought the story was far too short at around 26 pages and it was bereft of action. It felt like it was nothing more than a transitional story, something Howard wrote to explain what Conan did after the events of The Tower of the Elephant and to set things up for The God in the Bowl. It also felt rushed. Of the Conan stories I've read so far, The Hall of the Dead is the weakest.

Rating: 3/10.

The Wind, what is its Name?

So, I finished "The Hall of the Dead" the other day, but I've decided not to continue reading the Conan book because, honestly, every time I open it, I'm afraid it'll fall apart in my hands. So, I've opted instead to move on to the next book, Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind. I actually read a bit of this about a year or so ago, then bought my own copy back in January, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet. Now's as good as any!

Picture via Goodreads.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Currently reading: Conan!

I wasn't too sure about it at first, since my local library's only copy looks like its been smashed about by the Hulk, but I can't resist Conan. The only reason I'm on page 81 already is because I've read the previous stories a few months back. I'm not sure if I'll read the rest of the book or just nibble on one or two stories. We'll see.

(via Paperback Fantasies)

Great, now I want to play Gamma World

Click to embiggen.
Hawkman with a laser gun? I'm in. What is Gamma World? Welp, it's sort of like Fallout, but on crack. It's a post-apocalyptic game where you can play as a human, android, mutated plant or animal. Yes, a mutated plant. Fear the hordes of Asparagus Men!

(via Penny Arcade)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

There and back again - Magician: Master by Raymond E. Feist

Oh look, another post about Riftwars...
Sick of them yet? This will be the last one about Feist's excellent series for a while - after reading the Apprentice and Master in quick succession, I need a break! That, and none of the libraries in the area have the third book of the Riftwars Saga, A Darkness at Sethanon, which puts a bit of a damper on reading the rest of the series at the moment. Unlike the last nonreview, this one won't be as long. Hit the jump.

Monday, August 6, 2012

All this stuff about the Curiousity Mars rover is nice and all, but a burning question is left unanswered

Where's all the Martian princesses at?

Burroughs said there would be half-naked Martian chicks. D:

But in all seriousness, landing a car-sized robot on another planet when there's like a half-hour delay in transmission between Earth and Mars is an amazing feat. Yes, Curiosity isn't the first robot we've sent to the Red Planet, nor will it be the last, but it never fails to astound. Hopefully, one day men and women will join all the rovers on Mars...and have sloppy makeouts with all the Princesses of Mars.

Picture via The Realm of Ryan.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A boy named Pug

Let's start off with the pros, followed by the cons, then we'll move on to my thoughts.

Pros: Surprisingly good story, considering the tropes involved. Nice pacing. Enjoyable characters and an exciting plot and twits.
Cons: Would've liked more information about Crydee and the Duke. While the characters were enjoyable and fairly deep, some just seemed to blend together or we a tad bland. Would've liked a bit more attention focused on some.

Thoughts: First off, here's the plot (roughly): The novel's plot, while seeming to start out as the standard "orphan destined to become a great hero and oh look, a wizard with a long white beard" type of fantasy story, it quickly morphs into something else. The plot is actually about two worlds. On one side, you have Midkemia, home of Pug and the rest of the heroes. On the other, Kelewan, home to the Tsurani, a warrior race who forged an empire on their world. Through the use of magic rifts (portals, basically), the Tsurani discover Midkemia and decide to conquer it.

Hit the jump for the rest, but beware of spoilers.

The Apprentice has become the Master - Raymond E. Feist's Magician: Master

More accurately, the second half of Magician. When Magician was published in the U.S., it was split into two books: Apprentice and Master, so I figured "what the hell" and decided to read it before moving on to something else. I'm only on the 16th page, so all I know so far is that Master takes place four years after the end of Apprentice. Pug has a beard now. Speaking of Apprentice, I'm going to start writing the "review" now. Expect it soon.

Picture via Saltmanz.


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