Monday, August 29, 2011

I love it when a plan comes together!

Saturday the wife and I headed out to our friends (Matt & Brian) place to play in our 1 per month Shadowrun game. For those not familiar with Shadowrun its a tabletop RPG set in a future version of earth full of sci-fi technology, magic, monsters and megacorporations who damn near control everything. And the players get to play Shadowrunners.....essentially hired criminals. Each with their own special abilities.

Here's the quick rundown of the runners on our team.

Jess - Aki (female elf physical adept/ ronin samurai)
Brian - Grey (human shaman/party band aid (healer))
Evil Brian - Sanzo (male elf ranged adept/gun slinger)
Jack - Jumpstart (orc rigger/wheel man)
Thya - Dot (ogre brawler/fashion diva)
Me - 8-Bit (human technomancer/squatter with no I.D. in the system)
Matt - GM (guy behind the screen making our lives difficult/alpha Shadowrun weenie)

This was the second part of a job we were doing for a client. Basically we were going to 'borrow' an executive for a major mega-corp for a few days so he would miss a critical shareholders vote. Well much like the last session (pre-A.E. bloggery) it was just Aki, Sanzo, Grey & 8-Bit (Jack & Thya couldn't make it so Matt just kinda had them do things on the side while we planned). Oh and we planned. We planned to get into the hotel, hijack the mark & then hold him in the same mega-lux hotel he was staying at....just on floor up and on the other side of the building.

8-bit cracked the hotel's admin functionality and had free reign access to security etc. I then (after a few tests to see if I could crack this system) checked Aki & Sanzo into the hotel as a married couple on vacation. Grey and 8-bit went in as maintenance workers. Once the room was acquired we planned the heist. And folks this went down smooth...for the folk taking the mark. 8-bit almost got caught mucking with the security cameras but dumped a rival user out of the net so I could finish.

So when the mark showed up at night the rest of the crew was ready (with Jumpstart & Dot as the getaway van/distraction). Grey used magic to stun all the bodyguards and the mark. Aki & Sanzo pulled him out of the limo and threw him into the van. Then I paused the video feed (after I dumped the other user who saw I was on but didn't expect me to full on attack him & kicking him out of VR....unconscious). They pulled the mark out of his clothes (to make sure he didn't have any tracers on him), placed him in a laundry cart, Aki & Sanzo got back into formal attire and strolled into the building while Grey pushed the laundry cart into an elevator I had waiting. I kept the cameras off of him until he got into the room then resumed "normal" viewing. With the vid recording again (and after I altered the timestamp) Jumpstart and Dot raced off and I called the cops (we have to make it look like a heist after all). And even after the hiccup of we had to keep him there for 2 more days than needed, the prying from security, intrusions from housekeeping, and one nasty wasp spirit (which was our only fatality....but we had no choice...) we pulled it off. It was Ocean's 11 slick. Cops had no friggin' clue we had the target hidden at the crime scene the whole damn time. It was ballsy move but paid off big. This is the 'short short' version of the night but you got a good idea of the crap we pulled off. And I'm so very proud of the party for being able to pull this off.

And I do have to thank Matt for letting us put this rope around our PC's necks and seeing if we can make it go smoothly.....even though he had a wasp spirit show up....and extended the job by 2 days cause we were making the game really REALLY short by how well prepared we were.

What a total pecker head.

But it was a blast and I can't wait to hear what new job is in store for this crew.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Never NEVER allow anyone in your house named Jerry.

Mostly because they suck. Yet in the case of "Fright Night" its because Jerry is a vampire hell bent on devouring you, your family, friends & girlfriend.

"Fright Night" was the date night movie du jour for the wifey and I on friday. And we both liked it. We really really liked it. Cripes it stars Chekov and Doctor Who for gods sake; why wouldn't I like it? Oh and that Colin Farrel guy who has starred in a few other movies as the major baddie.

Now I thought the casting was great for this. From Charlie Brewster, his mom, girlfriend, friends at school, Jerry the Vampire and Peter Vincent. I swear once David Tennant shows up the movie gets 200 times cooler and more enjoyable.

 In fact for the first half of the flick it is trying to be a serious, tension filled, horror flick (and to be honest it was dragging its ass a bit during this) until Jerry does something so ridiculous to the Brewster house that the rest of the movie *HAS* to keep on par with that or lose the audience. But fortunately it keeps up with the ramped up sense of lunacy (and dare I say cartoony action/horror) and it keeps your butt glued to the seat for the rest of the flick and it comes on like a Veyron doing 250+ MPH.
Its maddening. And it all leads up to Charlie going shopping for supplies and he goes to raid Jerry's home to save his girlfriend. Oh and Peter Vincent comes along with him to help Charlie kick serious vampire ass.

  Speaking of Peter Vincent..... while David Tennant is playing the iconic role first played by Roddy McDowell he isn't aping Roddy nor is he playing The Doctor. Tennant has crafted his own version of Peter Vincent. A Chris Angel Mindfreak-ish charlatan. A tortured soul. And a total coward but does the right thing and helps Charlie even though he knows this is suicide. Tennant is just awesome. Put this man in more movies.....NOW. (Just not in leather pants again....I didn't need to see him rubbing his balls cause of the chaffing....and going on about it....).

  And finally Jerry. Colin Farrel is amazing as a vampire. It wasn't the Chris Sarandon smarmy, slimy, 80's ladies man from the original film. No, Farrel was a shark. A total alpha male predator. A great white in the suburbs of Las Vegas. He was brutal, chilling, and just evil. And you can see that he enjoyed the hell out of playing this. And I will say that if Farrel wasn't Jerry this movie wouldn't have been as fun.

So what the hell are you waiting for? Go see this. Now. Go. And you don't need to see it in 3D either. 2D was just fine for me and the movie still rocked.

"Fright Night" ........ a kick ass way to end the summer movie season. I recommend it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I heal you!

Whenever a goblin cleric says this prepare to take damage. Apparently they only heal their party members with dysentery. Or at least my friend Matt's goblin PC did when we played 'We Be Goblins' at GenCon 2011 just a few weeks back. And by dysentery I mean the channel negative energy burst that he 'thought' he was healing us with.

What a douche.

Anyways, this brings me to discussing a new Pathfinder Player Companion: Goblins of Golarion. As the title implies this 32 page folio goes into detail about the goblins, their 'quirks', different tribes, religious beliefs, phobias, etc. And its all enjoyable to read. The gang at Paizo has taken a somewhat disrespected creature in the RPG world and injected so much charisma and personality into them that I would actually consider running a irregular 'all goblin game' with a overall story arc.

From a few new goblin specific feats, traits and spells (Fire Sneeze is my favorite) to some detail about the various regions goblins are found in and the tribes of each region, this quickly becomes a guide that both players and GM's will find enjoyable and useful.

And I need to mention the art inside. Its just funny. My favorites are the art for Fire Sneeze which features a goblin witch blowing a flaming booger out her nose and the larger goblin pirate ship complete with crew. Its completely adorable...until they board your ship and start murdering your crew.

For a race that is generally laughed at when encountered when playing, Paizo has managed to make these losers totally cool and worthy of being main foes for many levels of play. Now while I can't recommend it at full retail price ($10.99) I will say to shop around & you'll find it for a few bucks cheaper. And when you do its so very worth it.

Now its time for me to plan to heal Matt's bard at this weekend's game with dysentery. Payback...thy name is Phil (the GM).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

While I'm thinking about it...

What other videogames that are on my radar for the rest of 2011? In no particular order....

1) Deus Ex: The Human Revolution
2) Resistance 3
3) Uncharted 3
4) The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim (but only after I pry this out of my beautiful wife's hands...she called dibs when they announced this game)
5) Dark Souls
6) Ico / Shadow of the Colossus Collection

That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure I'm missing something too. Its not Mass Effect 3 as I know that got pushed back until 2012....dammitgrumblemofosumbitch.

If you think I'm missing something from the list or want to chime in with your 2 cents.....leave a comment. Always like hearing from the readers.

Short stack of buttermilk pancakes would sure hit the spot right now.

Just an example of the "witty banter" demonstrated by your fellow members of Strikeforce Lightning in the ridiculously absurd yet sublime Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon for the Xbox360 (and PS3).

 The premise is a very generic one: an alien invasion of earth is under way and you and your team of commando's must battle giant mutant insects and robots (and robo-insects....didn't see that one coming did you?) to save mankind from oblivion. The game itself is equally generic with its graphics, sound, game play and overall production values. For example: the in game physics engine is so ridiculous that when an object or enemy is on the receiving end of an explosion or shotgun blast they are flung skyward into the stratosphere. Graphical clipping is prevalent through out the game too with the enemies moving inside the terrain at points. The game also freezes up on occasion; usually when the action on screen is overwhelming. Its a generally bad game.

Its also the BEST $40 bucks I've spent on a game all year. For all its shortcomings (and they are legion) EDF manages to do something other games can't do: Be completely fun and almost infinitely re playable. I've started using EDF as my go to game for mindless fun. Long day at the office? I drop in EDF and shoot bugs and blow up New Detroit with high explosives for an hour and I feel great afterward! Mother-In-Law coming to visit?? EDF to the rescue with giant robots that are as tall as skyscrapers that you battle with crazy weaponry like 'The Burnhive' (a shotgun that fires homing rounds that deal fire damage too).

I have more fun playing this dumb-ass game than any other in a long time. Even though I've pretty much memorized 'Oldman' & 'The Kid' 's dialogue (your AI squad mates), I've completed the "story" mode, I've begun the survival mode, I STILL want more. I still smile like a Viscount in a Duster crossing the Ohio border. It just makes me happy knowing that there are still games out there that give a person hours of enjoyment and their moneys worth. I'm liking the 4 types of soldiers you can choose from, I like leveling up the soldiers so I can gain access to the increasingly bonkers firepower I can utilize. I just love killing bugs and robots with high caliber firepower and blowing buildings up with rocket launchers.

If you are looking for the next big budget blockbuster war game pass on this and get Battlefield 3 or the next Modern Warfare game. If you're like me and want to play something rather casual that feels like it could have made a great movie on the SyFy channel.....pick up Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon. I can't sing its praises enough.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Achievement Unlocked: Purchased More Gaming Goodies at GenCon

Ok now the more important stuff: the swag obtained at GenCon. Let's just cut to the list.

1) Call of Cthulhu 30th Anniversary Edition ---Awesome, just plain awesome. And it was my first purchase there as well. Leather bound, with a very appealing interior layout design. I want to just keep this on my coffee table at all times but the wife will probably think I'm going to summon Hastur or something....

2) Delta Green: Targets of Opportunity --- this was a suprise for me at the con since I did not know this was coming out. I LOVE this setting for Call of Cthulhu! Modern day government operatives & citizens fighting to keep the darkness at bay just a bit longer. This 320 page hardcover goes into detail about some areas of the world where REALLY bad things are going down. If you thought Innsmouth was a society overrunn by the Deep Ones try visiting scenic Black Cod Island off the coast of British Columbia where they have been pairing with the human populace for many MANY generations. Do you like Ghouls? How about Voodoo? Try New Orleans! And there is much more in here. Not only is it a fantastic read (as usual for Delta Green and Pagan Publishing) but it has so much info inside it'll keep any Keeper happy. The highlight of getting this was talking to Greg Stolze and Adam Scott Glancy at length about the setting (and they signed my book too). I was perplexed when after fanboy gushing to Mr Glancy about how much I love this setting (Thanks again Bob! When can we play again?) he told me that they rarely hear praise from the public about the books and are generally elated when they sell copies!
 So if you like well written gaming books set in a downright fantastic setting....pick up the Delta Green line from Pagan Publishing. I can't recommend it enough.

3) Degenesis (Posthuman Studios): This is a german post apocalyptic RPG set 500 years after a meteor strike damn near wiped out mankind on earth. The meteor was packing the same proto-DNA that kicked off life on earth and now it started to cause mutations in society. Those mutants (with powers) are the villians. Mankind is in ruin and we're fighting to survive.
 Admittedly I like the tone of this setting. The biggest selling point for me was the artwork within. It looks wonderfully distopian in a graphic novel way. Its very hard edged, pulls no punches on subject matter (technology, society, religion) and looks like it will give me numerous ideas for use in games I run. I don't know if I'll try this system out but I may. For what I wanted this for totally justified the purchase.

4) Shadowrun The Runner's Black Book (Limited Ed). This is a compilation of about 6 PDF's worth of info Catalyst put out for sale with vehicles, weapons and other goodies plus all new material not included in the original PDF's. And it was leatherbound & the author signed it for me as well. I do play Shadowrun so this book of goodies is a no brainer. I also picked up Arsenal as well which is just a big book of guns and other weapons. My technomancer is now going to be loaded to bear.

I also picked up some more dice from Q Workshop ( my favorite dice makers and they are from Poland too boot! And the dice do roll correctly and are also numbered right...jerks), picked up my 'Pie Cthulhu' print from Echo Chernik ( ). Check out her work it is astounding. I picked up my Condition Cards, Pathfinder Society Field Guide and A.P. subscription issues from Paizo (not Ultimate Combat aint worth 40 bucks folks...I'll go into that another time if someone asks), and a few other odds and ends. Nothing like the sheer volume of crap I got in 2009. And my list was huge this time & I walked out with roughly 1/6th of what I wanted. Mostly cause, well, I don't know when I'll ever get to play it.

Enough jawing....back to Earth Defense Force on the X360.EDF! EDF! EDF!

GenCon 2011: The BEST Four Days of Waiting in Line in Gaming!

Harsh sounding? Well, yes, and it wasn't an exaggeration either. There were lines EVERYWHERE at GenCon. Lines to get tickets, lines for events, food, purchases, etc. And at least half of the line waiting was somewhat preventable by either the con or the visitors. Case in point the waiting in line at the major exhibitor's booths (I'm glaring at you Paizo & Fantasy Flight). On the average it was a 30+ minute wait just to check out with your purchases. All I wanted from Fantasy Flight was the Arkham Horror Ashcan Pete figure for $3.99. The line was approx 12 people in length with a few registers going. It didn't move. At all. After 5 minutes I left the line, put poor old Pete back, and walked away. Paizo wasn't any better either. 3 registers with one dedicated to credit card only purchases. It was another 30+ minute wait. This time I was picking up my Subscription purchases (already paid for...just to pick up at con) & a few other things. Still....30+ minutes. The credit card machines kept going down (which on day one of the con I can see happening) however the Paizo "fans" all wanted to bullshit with the employees and choked the lines to a standstill. Really...get the hell out of line if you want to chat. I have things to do dickbrain!
 I won't even get started on the lines to get into some of the event halls. That was a complete circus especially for the bigger companys with alot of events running. Needless to say I'll be avoiding those areas next time I go.
 And there will be a next time because even with all the line crawling and human gridlock in the con center's hallways the overall experince was a lot of fun for both myself and the wife. I'd go into more detail here but this was for bitching about the lines only. And if you have horror stories of waiting in line at GenCon or any other con and want to share....feel free.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

In the beginning....

Before you is something I hope will grow and flourish over time into something interesting to read. Within this small slice of the interweb I'll use this space to discuss Gaming (RPG's/Miniture/Board/Card/VideoGames), Movies, Music, Books and more. All the words and opinions are my own and I won't hold back my feelings especially when I think something is horrible.
I will try to update regularly to keep the mojo going and the first major story will be the GenCon 2011 experience and more importantly all the flipping cool stuff I drug back from Indianapolis.
So please bear with me as this could be one hell of an adventure in whining, bitching, complaining, and being a total fanboy geek.