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Posts posted by ThothAmon

  1. Re: Our Party: Explosion waiting to happen


    The caveat in these discussions is the idea of realism in a genre where people shoot laser beams from their eyes.


    The pure Boy Scout is a concept that brings a ton of baggage and has the potential to be laughable. The nearest real-world analogy is the cop who has never fired his gun - an extreme rarity if not a hoary old cliche. I often consider that Boy Scouts are blinkered. I do, however, appreciate those who are prepared to assume such responsibilities and roles because the world needs heroes.


    The pure Slasher Vigilante is also weighed down with baggage and just as laughable. Sure, people get away with multiple murders in real life - they're called serial killers (or politicians) and they are usually pursued fiercely then shoved onto Death Row (or retire to Martha's Vineyard) when caught. Some bad guys don't deserve to live. It's how you distinguish that kind from the rest that makes the difference.


    Realism means grey areas, value judgements, compromises, consequences, regrets and mistakes. If the GM has stated that such realism is the order of the day, anyone who comes to the table looking to play one of the aforementioned character extremes had better be prepared for the party games. Likewise the GM had better be open to exploring those character conflicts. Coming to the table without that preparation will waste everyone's time.

  2. Re: Ripping off the Late Roger Zelazny...


    Minimum costs for a slot is wrong. I think it is 2 points, or 1 point? Slots need to be ultra to cover the fact that you can only do one thing at a time?


    I'd suggest that OAF doesn't apply unless you need the whole deck - lose one card and the deck stops working.


    Concentration may also need looking at, especialy with communication / movement powers.

  3. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...


    Just finished Red Lightning by John Varley. It's a sequel to Red Thunder but is very different from its predecessor. Standout elements are the aftermath of a massive hurricane (spookily foreshadowing the events of Katrina) and the importance of environmental and local knowledge when undertaking an invasion / occupation of another planet (spookily foreshadowing current events in Afghanistan / Iraq).

  4. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...


    "Stone" by Adam Roberts.


    Leftfield SF concerning the one and only psychopathic killer out of billions of humans in a future Utopia civilization. Killer gets busted from jail by mysterious employers and given the task of killing an entire planet of 60+ million people without destroying the planet. Some great ideas welding philosophy to space opera but overall not a stellar book. Having said that, kudos for a very clever method of achieving the central task (rates highly on the Unique WMD scale). 7 out of 10.

  5. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...


    Still working on The Chronicles of Master Li and Number 10 Ox. I'm about 3/4 of the way though Eight Skilled Gentlemen.


    Then I start on the new Del Ray Conan collection. And I'll be taking lots of notes. :D


    Ah, fantastic stuff. I read them every time I get jaded.


    ATM I've just finished 'Down The Bright Way' by Robert Reed (rather intriguing SF with no interstellar travel in the established sense) and I'm just getting into '1610: Sundial In A Grave' by Mary Gentle.

  6. Re: Cybermen


    That was back when science fiction TV cared more about the writing than the effects....


    You speak true words. One of the things that sets Dr Who apart from most TV series is the quality of the writing.


    As for the return of the Sea Devils one of the Sea Devils / Silurians eBooks is now available on line (can't recall originator the linky but here it is anyway):




    And here's the index page for a bunch of the eBooks:



  7. Re: Cybermen


    I always felt that the Borg were a pretty blatant rework of the Cybermen :thumbdown IMO most of the non-classic Star Drek was rather second-rate and not on a par with the original series (which featured some rather good SF writers on occasion).


    The current Dr Who series is still looking good, a nice combo of humour and SF-lite. If the writing standard is maintained there is hope for a Dr Who renaissance.

  8. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...


    Woken Furies by Richard K Morgan. Another entertaining SF novel with Takeshi Kovacs as the lead. Some intriguing technology items such as custom 'sleeve' genetech (gecko-grip and advanced life-preserving reflexes), heavy duty cyberware and advanced virus software. Again features a lot of politics to go with the extreme violence. It's an enjoyable combo.

  9. Re: What Fantasy/Sci-Fi book have you just finished? Please rate it...


    My most recent SF read was 'The Golden Globe' by John Varley.


    In common with most of Varley's work this is a deep, rich novel that contains big concepts, fine characterisation, thought-provoking material and great attention to detail. Varley mixes topics as diverse as hard physics, developmental psychology, sociology, asymmetric warfare, survivalism and it makes for a heady brew.


    IMO it was a very good read, a worthy addition to Varley's so-called Eight Worlds universe. Those unfamiliar with Varley should read him. You can mine an entire roleplaying campaign from just one of his novels. You'll also see why he is pretty much the progenitor of genres such as cyberpunk. For the life of me I cannot understand why (virtual) hacks such as Neal Stephenson have flourished in Varley's shadow. I guess thus it ever was.


    EDIT: Plotwise this is the story of an itinerant actor who has to get from the outer reaches of the solar system to Luna so that he can play King Lear on stage. Sounds simple but Varley does his usual sleight-of-hand to add in many other subplots. The actor is also a conman, a shapeshifter (very interesting power set for cyborgs), a wanted criminal and an interplanetary hobo.

  10. Re: Quote of the Week from my gaming group...


    #1 - "We kill the women, rape the sheep, then cook and eat the men..."


    #2 - "I'm fairly new to this torture thing so you'd better tell me what I need to know before I make a mistake."


    #3 - PC#1 says "We need help. I just emptied a 100 round drum into that guy and he's still coming at us." PC#2 says "No shit?"


    #4 - PCs are taking cover, hiding from a barrage of small arms fire. One PC lobs a stick of dynamite at the enemy. Everything goes quiet after the explosion. PC#1 says "Are they still alive?". PC #2 holds up the unconscious form of his fellow PC#3 and the body jerks as the bullets impact. PC#2 says "Yep, there still there."


    #5 - PC#2 runs away from the crashed automobile that has pinned the vampire to the wall. PC#1 shouts at him "How long did you set the fuse for?" The only reply from PC#2 is the sound of rapidly receding footsteps...

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