:: Zelazny :: [polish] :: sparks that fly from the ironsmith's hammer ::
::. Friday, February 28 .::
Perverse Access Memory:
WISH 36: Supplements Today's WISH is not about game systems, but about supplements: What do you think about supplements to game systems? Do you like the additional material, or are you just annoyed about spending the money for the additional rules? Name up to three supplements you've really enjoyed, and describe why you liked them.
While not a supplement junkie, I do find that a supplement worth its $$$ will get my mind going about gaming, and aways relate somehow to a game I'm working on or playing in. So three supplements I really like:
Places of Mystery - GURPS :: this generic gamebook details twelve different spots to add a special location to any game. It also includes an overview of how to make "best use" of these little stopovers by theme, pacing, and character in a mini-campaign format. The types of places cover everything from lost undersea cities to Pompeii, ruined abbeys, and Machu Picchu. The graphics and content are excellent. I love this one because it is inspiring, easily adaptable, and shows a love for inspiration of the mini-myths that drive the imagination. While all these are drawn from earth-centric mysteries, it is the foundation to all our "let's pretend."
DC Comics Guide to Writing Comics :: not a game supplement at all, but a breezy tour of how plots and drama are used in comic stories. I bought it as a writing guide, and learned some interesting things about GMing in the process. Not as much value for the money as the above supplement, but very interesting to me.
The 1920s Investigator's Companion - Chaosium :: I think this one is out of print (update, no, its still around.) This is my "bible" for Zephyr Silks & Argent Rose, which is set in a faerie-twined analog of Paris in the Twenties. So the reason for its value is probably self-evident. This supplement is extremely good (to the point of more detail than I can GM in a game.) It includes professions, historical NPCs for those expertises, costs, technology, and everything about travel in the Twenties. It's a little light on social texture, but does include timelines, overviews, trends, and cultural commentary. If you want to know the basics of the Jazz Age (and make good guesses about a lot more), you can't get a better deal in one book.
One more supplement that can't be beat for content, style and value is:
House of Cards - Stampley and Croft :: this visual guide to the Amberway campaign is free, well-organized, and very accessible to all online. More than worth the 'click' to check it out. I liked it so much I had to have one of my own.
Demons of the Abyss As is the case with the guilds of Healers, Shadowmasters, and Trump artists, the Chaos guild of Demonologists is a weak and non-political organization. While their members are sometimes consulted by House lords, it is more often the case that specific traditions of demon calling and handling are kept secret within each House. The guild also supports current archeology projects within the Courts. As with the other guild systems, it is only the Chaos persons not supported by their House, or seeking a retreat from House traditions that join, or are allowed to join, this ancient guild.
The reference library of the guild is said to contain a few volumes of lore more than a hundred-thousand years old.
Chaosians do not recognize any moral issues to the use of demons and such relations are considered equal measure between parties. Depending on House protocols, demon servitors may be more honored than any family retainer. The Church of the Serpent has no religious opinion on the matter, certainly as long as the traditions of barter and honor are upheld.
Been playing games with HTML images and some text. Result is a writeup of Chaos demons that I will probably expand as I get a chance.
apologies :: there is an HTML opacity trick here, if you are not using IE or a browser that recognizes opacity, it will obscure my intent. With the opacity feature, images are ghosted on top of images for a very nice background, that also glows if you wave cursor over it.
"Put a stake in it: Gellar leaving 'Buffy'"
...and those rumors about Faith being "yes" from E. Dushku are pretty much NOT as she's signed for a Fox fall season pilot. Gellar done with Buffster by her interviews now out.
A few years ago, there was so little Chaos material online, now it seems to spring independantly from a dozen different sources. Or is it that Google is just a better search engine than what was available in '98? At the same time, it is not linked to the Golden Circle, nor to the Chaos ring I have for that purpose. Again, there is Google.
Google "courts of chaos" in the vacuum of material from Phage, notice that the Chaos pdf material for "Hand Unseen" is a new iteration of things already done by Meera, Jvstin, and yours truly. That's what the material is out there for, and that's why the links provided.
Tom Lenk, who plays former Evil-Trio-member Andrew on UPN's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, told TV Guide that his central role in an upcoming episode might be unnerving to fans.
Episode aired last night.
I was quite relieved to see the dramatic device of cutaway from another Buffy "speech" on the seriousness of the current story arc. While Buffy wiggin' on her dilemma is probably ok story material, we need to see less repeats of it and more fresh material developing our characters. This episode hit that mark.
(rant on) Andrew is a good add to the story, as he has always been a naive twit with delusions of grandeur, and his 'lameness' makes good contrast with the developed characters on the show. This brings up another observation. The show is building to climax. I'd like to see more humor, more heroism, more 'niche' moments for the cast. My guess is that some pretty horrible things are going to happen to these characters, which I can handle if dignity and courage are mixed in. Buffy, or anyone else, trying to motivate by 'sniping' and 'reverse psycho pop babble' will really annoy me no end. (rant off)
Blog, Jvstin Style started a meme: Other games to run, someday and Claire jumped in with a good one. I have two I've been kicking around.
Hung Upon the Tree of Matter: story set in the Chaos of long-before-Amber. Time and Life itself are running down, the Universe is about to perish, the Courts of Chaos has exhausted their resources in the fight to maintain civilization against the Abyss. Now the House of Lords reaches an ephiphany with the arrival of the Serpent. A church is being formed with the faith to stave off armageddon. Players take roles of the Heads of Chaos Houses. Possibly a "talking heads" game. What happens next?
And Then There Were None: Everything is lost. Amber is the last fortress of power in the universe. Chaos is fallen. Shadow is eaten. The ancient powers once constrained by Dworkin have waited for millenia and now the Eternal Realm's days are numbered. The Final Battle claims all the Player Characters. All glory is dust-- but wait-- there is an afterlife! What happens next?
...and final tweaks to the Relationships page at ATEC...
And as I consider: Most of these relationships were all revealed in campaign (in other words fabrications) without much basis in the Zelazny canon, yet our Players find the relationships essential in understanding my versions of the Elders. What does each relationship do for the meta-game?
Tatasha: links to the Patternfall war and Weir backstory in addition to placing Evander as a threat to Random's reign; gives personality to a key dead Elder
Vivant: established that there are other ways to break Julian's infamous control; intro'd younger NPC Shapir at same experience level as Players
Lorelei: established vibrancy of Argent Realm; allowed GM to exclude Corwin from ongoing campaign story
Vialle: canon Zelazny
the Owen: Gerard starts the game as the most eligible prince; in due course, this woman explains something essential about him
Audrey: all too often, games define Fiona through her brothers and/or the Chaosian men who are attracted to her; in my Amber, no one is frigid
Carmella: canon Zelazny with a twist; Carmella celebrates the canon, and shows just how much Corwin didn't understand about his sister. Remember the line, "I have decided that it is improbable that she will answer the door." ---and yet she did?
Leila, Duchess, Roxanne, Aether, Iko, and yes, there are others: whether it is true or not, Bleys appears to be better at everything than any other prince
Kent: he stands in for the noble families of Amber, his viewpoint addresses minor court issues and native Amber understandings of the royal family
DeWinter: he represents big mistakes of the past, in particular, mysteries unsettled about Oberon; he further opens issues of Dalt and the importance of Broken Pattern and Bad Stuff to the story
Salat: she is everyman; an ordinary gal with spark and wit who reaches for the stars; she is a ghost of violence, having died within Castle Amber
Selsienna: she is the "pawn" of conniving enemies of Amber; a story-placemaker that shows that even the royal heart is not safe from attack
Beth: she is the dream of trust, friendship, and the nod to the infinity of shadows of desire; she is tragedy
CSS should give you the ultimate feel-good about HTML tables (one of the trickiest things to code on a webpage) but it just doesn't. Why? Because the standard CSS is there, but browsers don't support the standards. Here are some tweaks to old tables from my pages with CSS. Opera seems to come close to doing what's supposed to happen. You should see horizontal rules between rows, but no borders around the table--- and the fourth column should have a vertical divider all by CSS. Note that these horizontal rules will print while the background colorbars will not unless your browser is set to print all backgrounds/graphics.
Perverse Access Memory: WISH 35: Music This week’s WISH is from Meera:
How does music influence your campaigns? As a GM, do you feel there are ‘soundtracks’ for scenes, and as a player, do you perhaps have ‘songs’ for characters? Name three songs that relate to favourite characters or
Mmm. This isn't an easy question. Let's see.
Music for campaigns: I've done this a couple of times. For my original D&D campaign, I had two tapes of music related to NPCs and certain situations or locales. For instance, there were themes for chaos, demons, the home of the gods, etc. Players responded well to this, and a lot of the players at the time were OK with music playing in the background for gaming. Generally, much of this music was classical or filmscore stuff.
For my Argent Rose game, I've burned a CD with music from the twenties and from Paris cafe night-life. This can be played very low when I'm playing that game at ACN.
Music for characters: Harder to say. I know I've done it for NPCs, see above. Some tunes just suddenly click with the story and theme of a particular character's life. Perhaps because of my GM/player ratio of time, I've really only invested this thought in my campaigns and not my own characters.