Sorry for the lack of updates. It’s been busy at work, and I was out in the Netherlands yesterday. While there were frustrations involved with that, the bonus was that I was actually able to write the for 2006 written. It’s a good thing I always keep my notepad with me; When the words come it’s good to get them on paper straight away before they escape into the ether. I still have to write one for the one to two Vampire/World of Darkness games I intend to run, but I’m expecting those to be more closed group with perhaps a few happless passers-by added. I still don’t know whether the game will turn into a one-slot or two-slot game. It depends how it runs. Most likely I’ll take the last slot of the day so I can run over. I’ll definetly be doing that with the Vampire games.

More gaming at the weekend. Hurrah! Vampire on Saturday and Aberrant on the Sunday. The Aberrant has been long-awaited. We might actually finish a plot thread this time! (There. That’s cursed that!)
Should be going to see at the cinema before the game, which should give me something to do in the two hours between me arriving and everyone esle showing their faces!

As for tomorrow, the travelling this week has got me grouchy as hell. If I can work from home tomorrow, I will.

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The weekend, as is often the case, began on Friday night. A slightly frazzled, ‘work is finally over’, ‘I hate the rush-hour’ Friday night, but Friday none-the-less. As Penny was out gallivanting I finally finished watching the second season of 24. Very enjoyable, and very, very brutal. I won’t spoil it for anyone by detailing why, but wow.

Saturday began with breakfast with Penny before she went off to work. I then got a haircut that took me by surprise. Somehow when I said “just a trim to tidy it up please”, the bizarre acoustics of the barbers translated this to “I’m sick of my crazy uncontrollable locks, make me look somewhat less disrespectable, dammit!”. I must confess it does look more professional, but it’ll take a while to get used to the change in length.

Then, having plenty of time left over of my morning and nothing left to fill it with, it was off to London where I arrived at the usual pub in Canary Wharf about an hour early. Good thing I’d brought reading material with me! And when that ran out, there was always the news to read on my phone. After the usual food, drink and catch-up, off to Kev’s for our game of Aberrant. We didn’t really achieve very much, but we got ourselves in a position where we’ll be ready to move next game session.

The post-game period was spent watching the Top 100 animations of all time. Some I disagreed with (Urutskidoji?! Sure it was only at 85-ish, but still, there are a lot of far superior animes out there that didn’t even make the top 100) and of course The Simpsons made number one. Good program though.

Sunday was spent playing a non-horror game of ‘When Darkness Comes’. It was fun to play, though the rules needed some tweaking. It also took longer than I had anticipated, mainly due to the ridiculous number of botches! I’ll be writing up the rules and posting them to EG. It looks like it’s a game I can run easily at Conception.

Speaking of EG, it’s back up with most of it’s content. The database got corrupted, so some content will have errant question marks throughout it. The only thing lost was the forum posts, news and user accounts, but all the actual content is there. I need to create a new logo too and some icons have been lost. However, security is affirmed and the codebase more stable. Which means that once users are recreated, we can post the Aberrant journals up there.

My movements this week: I’ll be in a B&B until Wednesday night when I’ll be going home to repack. Thursday night I’m flying out to Holland, returning late Friday.

The boardgame alluded to earlier is ‘When Darkness Comes’ by Twilight Creations. It’s primarily an investigation adventure within a horror setting, but it’s fairly adaptable. TC have released settings of espionage (based on Spycraft) and cyber-warfare, so it’s very adaptable. It can be run either GM controlled, everyone is a player or GM playing (if there is enough of a random element). The rules system is based around poker hands, so I hope everyone knows their poker rules! I’ve already got the scenario sorted and I’ll be trialling it on victims on Sunday, I hope.

World of Warcraft ‘plague’ swamps servers | The Register

Now this I found interesting. It must have fascinating to watch this plague spread across the virtual world of WoW, but probably also a little creepy. Perhaps it’s a little too much horror for a game that mostly consists of ‘kill the mob, steal it’s treasure’. There are indeed many a cry of “Why am I infected, I did nothing to deserve it, it’s unfair!”. Players want someone to blame and they are blaming the creators (of the game). Of course death in WoW is not permanent, it’s not like the characters are being wiped out forever when they get the plague, but it’s still causing distress. And in game? It’s certainly causing paranoia, segregation into ghettos, mistrust of others. Brilliant idea…

Well, it has been the gaming weekend and gaming actually happened! Saturday’s Aberrant game was good fun and progress was made. I’m going to have to decide whether all this fame will go to John’s head (beyond the odd ego stroke) or whether he will stay focussed on his goals…

Quote of the day? Andy protesting that he was not, counter to accusations, as tight as a duck’s arse. He was more as tight as a prison duck’s arse, it being somewhat looser.

The night was a light one, the average working out at just under two bottles of wine each! (We never count the drinks in the pub beforehand.) And everyone was tucked up in bed by half twelve! Is this the beginning of the end? Does our collectively approaching 30th birthdays really mean we will become… sensible? I shudder at the thought.

The positive side of this was that people were not too hungover to play some Vampire on Sunday afternoon (yes, afternoon since the lazy bastards slept way past 11!) Kev found out that while vampires are not susceptible to a great many things that would harm mortals, gravity works on all of us. We did get to enjoy the mental image of a Guy sandwich, trapped between the lift he had just fallen on, and Tim’s character Yves on top of him, having fallen even further.

A good weekend.

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Endless Games – Encyclopedia

I’ve updated the Story so far for the Vampire game in rough at the link above. I’ll be adding other cross links and encyclopedia entries through the day as work allows or as people prompt me with things they remember. (When was the bacon related punch-up between Guy and Justin?) or when I get character profiles.

Oh, and as for Aberrant, it’s somewhat incomplete but don’t forget to check out the incomplete and somewhat out-of-date Index of People for the Aberrant game. (Incidently, the vast majority of the Aberrant encyclopedia was assembled by Kev. Credit where credit’s due.)

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Well, I had a day off yesterday, and much enjoyed it was. And a much needed break. Weekends tend to be filled with sociable stuff which, whilst enjoyable, are often not exactly chill time. And that’s what I had yesterday.

Why yesterday in particular? Well, a few weeks ago I had a dilemma. I had a certain amount of spare money and not sure whether to spend it on a Sony PSP or a new mountain bike. After some agonising, I decided that a mountain bike would be a better investment. Healthier, more sociable as I could go on trips with Penny and a less constant drain on funds as games are expensive. So after some research, I settled on a Specialized Hardrock Sport, pictured right, and it was ready to collect yesterday.

Sadly, it wasn’t ready until the afternoon, so I was forced to spend the day chilling out playing computer games and reading (more on that later). But finally it was ready. I took the train to the rather excellent bike shop in Woking and then cycled in back along the canal. One thing is for sure. If I didn’t have one already, I’d want one. Light, sturdy and very responsive; An absolute dream to ride. I’m looking forward to punishing the hell out of it.

There’s quite a good interview with Neil Gaiman in the new SFX (Nr 136 out at the end of the month), but if you can’t be arsed to buy it (I know I’m unlikely to), it is available in full here. It’s somewhat censored, as Neil does like the word Fuck. (His acceptance speech to unexpectedly winning a Hugo was “Fuck me, I won a Hugo!”)

Now, back to that reading that I was doing. On Monday Mage: The Awakening was released and on Wednesday it finally got delivered to my local game store. I’ve read through most of it now and it’s quite nice. The rules are slicker and less open to abuse (though more rulesey than Mage: The Ascension. Don’t expect to be able to cast spells without the book in front of you for a good long while), the design and art is lovely, particularly the cover (except for WW’s new tendency of using a weird script font for chapter subheadings in a shiny colour that makes it hard to read) and it’s all quite cohesive.

And the Tremere are back! But this time, instead of being Mages that became Vampires (as in Vampire: The Masquerade), they are now Vampires that became Mages! Huzzah! Well, not exactly. It’s like WW felt they ought to include them, had some good ideas but never had them properly polished. Expect some house rules regarding that and regarding Sleepers causing paradox.

Just thought I’d give you all an update on all the games we play, have heard of or that I’m involved in, in some way, especially for those people that don’t read my blog. (Although I will copy this there, just because I can)

Aberrant

  • As you all know, we’re back to playing this on Saturday the 3rd of September.
  • Although Penny has created a character, she won’t be joining us as the trip to Kev’s is an expensive one.
  • It is now possible to register multiple characters on Endless Games using the same email address, so you can have one account per character in the various games. The forums are at your disposal.


Eberron

  • This is on ice for now, as I want to get back into running Vampire. Sorry.


Vampire

  • If all goes well, nobody has to rush off and people’s hangovers aren’t too bad, the next Vampire game is on Sunday the 4th of September
  • As above, Penny won’t be there, her character will be NPCed until she’s ready to rejoin us.
  • The EG statement above applies here too.
  • There has been an update to the house rules that apply to my WoD games.


Symposium/En Garde PBEM

  • Development is frozen for now due to something else I’m working on.
  • However I still have all the materials, this project isn’t dead.


Lethe

  • This is the other thing I’ve been working on.
  • I’ve been converting Lethe to use Storyteller rules and putting all the background online.
  • There’s still more to upload, edit and add to (but I am getting through it as I have nothing to do at work just now), but once it’s in an okay state I shall make an announcement on EG for those that are interested.
  • That doesn’t mean it’ll be finished at that point. There will be plenty to refine and a lot of Lethe is still in my head and not documented.
  • Having given things some thought, I’ve decided that Global Frequency fits quite neatly into both the WoD (with the odd modification) and Lethe (with virtually no modification). I will be adding some systems and background for this onto EG in parallel with the rest of the Lethe material.
  • I’d like to get into running Lethe, but I don’t want to sacrifice my 6 weekly day of Vampire. Any suggestions as to what other day (even midweek) or location could be used?

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Well, after six over-long weeks, it’s time for a gaming weekend again! And this time it’s Vampire! Yay!

I just have to finish waking up, acquire some caffeine and breakfast and then see how early I can get to the pub while still getting everything done that I need to…

Andy, if you’re reading this on the morning of posting, it’s 1pm we meet. As always. And don’t forget your Vampire and WoD books.

Also quite pleased that I’ve found a Valpolicella that you can buy in the UK that doesn’t give me a headache in the morning. Unfortunately, buying it means breaking my more snobbish instincts as it is a Radcliffe’s. Yes, that’s right, it’s Threshers own brand. And it’s surprisingly adequate.

Work is ridiculously busy today. As if I don’t have enough to do dealing with my issues, the issues of the Younglings I’m training and a few side-projects; Now I have executive interest in one of my issues, which means I spend more time writing progress reports than actually doing work. Apparently this is to inspire me to work harder for this particular customer. I can just feel my morale soaring; everyone knows how much i love bureaucracy for it’s own sake.

At least the day started well. Penny felt inspired to rush off to Tesco to procure eggs and croissants for breakfast. Combined with a cup of coffee, I was well set up for the day! Just as well really! Perfect timing there on Penny’s part.

Last night involved playing Munchkin Fu (I won by virtue of being luckier and more evil) over a bottle of wine, and watching the rest of Oceans 12, which was awful, especially compared to the first one.

Beyond that, I’m continuing to do prep work for Saturday’s Vampire: The Requiem game, and I’m finding rules loopholes that you could drive a herd of cattle through. The game itself should be interesting; three veteran Vampire players (two of which played in my Vampire games at uni), one newcomer to Vampire (though he has played some other games over the last year) and one complete newcomer to roleplaying. Hopefully I’ll be able find the time to write up the summary of the story so far and it’s personae dramatis.