Sunday, October 27, 2013

Cyberpunk Sunday 2.017 - Smog, Trees and Virtual Reality.

Ah smog.  Smog on the level that they had to make new systems to measure it because it blew the old system away.  China has the smog in spades.  Of course this is what you get from unchecked air pollution and letting companies do whatever they want.  This could be the future of the air we breathe as we roll on into the future.  Where what looks like a morning fog is a actually a choking haze of air pollution that is good for nobody.

Heavy Smog Lingers in Northern China

Okay but then again maybe not.  Detroit, the biggest stretch of pock marked rusted America in the rust belt.  Where they've lost about half their population and the city is a showcase of urban blight.... is getting a bit greener.  A private company is buying up abandoned property in some of the worst areas, cleaning it up and... planting trees.  There is some interesting ideas going along with it and their plans for the future.

140 Acre Forest Appearing in Detroit

Another Twitter feed recommendation.  VR Breaking News covers all the current developments in the VR field after it's seen a recent resurrection from 90's abandoned development hell.  With things like the Oculus Rift and console systems looking into the technology things are moving forward quite rapidly again.  This feed posts enough links that I could make every Cyberpunk Sunday a VR Sunday and still have some extras left over.

VR Breaking News on Twitter

See you in a week with three more links.

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Picked up Hexcommunicated from Rafael Chandler a while back in one of those bundle deals. Finally managed to start reading it a few days ago. So far I'm pretty damn impressed. Not at all what I thought it was going to be. Probably be finishing it up this week at work on breaks.  Probably try writing up a review for it after that. 
You can find it here at Drivethrufiction:
Here is the write up on the book.

 "Murderous Soultergeists prepare a gruesome ambush in a Cary hotel. A massive Frankenstitch lumbers towards a quiet Apex farmhouse. And above a derelict asylum in Raleigh, a disembodied Skelekinetic deploys a horrific weapon.

Agent Nick Tepes is a Vampoule, a synthetic vampire specializing in counterterrorism operations. When his team picks up chatter about an imminent attack from the Al-Hazred terrorist network, Tepes and his unit of FAE operatives move to intercept....

However, a psychic has already seen the future: as the sun comes up, the terrorists will strike, and Tepes will die. The team has one night to prevent this prophecy from coming true, but the psychics of Hex Division are never wrong...

The debut novel of video game writer Rafael Chandler (SOCOM 4, Final Eden, MAG, Rainbow Six: Lockdown), Hexcommunicated is a white-knuckle mashup of urban fantasy and techno-thriller, set in a world of cybernetic werewolves, undead spies, and Lovecraftian WMDs."

Monday, October 21, 2013

Question of Faith - Core Concepts

The three core concepts of 'A Question of Faith'. 

One of the things I'm changing in the WaRP rules is the open nature of the character concept.  It's currently sat up to open a truly wide open set up for making whatever you want.  However the setting of QoF is much more narrow than most other games.  Basically you play a group that is sent out by the church to travel from town to town searching out evil.  Re-enforcing the rule of the church and it's beliefs among the populace while tracking down demons and killing them without mercy.

So I'm using something I call the 'core concept'.  Working something like character classes from other games but still allowing some of that openness as well.  Anyways I'll get into more details on how it works later.  Until then here is the basic write up on what each of them are.


You are the sword arm of the church in the cities and small towns. Chosen for your physical strength and endurance to be the first to take the fight to the followers of the dark. While you may not always be the leader you are always in the front when there is danger about. Weapons at the ready, armor carefully maintained and the courage to go nose to nose with anything that dares to stand against the church.
You are the armed healers of the church. Those who have sworn to take blood in order to preserve lives. While not as trained in the ways of arms to the point of Cavaliers you are able to fight. What you can do is call upon the aid of the Lord to grant abilities that can heal some and hurt others. Demons tremble at your words and are burned by your faith. Do well to make them fear your name.
You are the voice of the church. One who travels far and wide to help maintain the faith of the Lord in the people. Every town is a flock that needs tending and dedications reaffirmed. By your words even the governors have to listen and obey. Giving the people a chance to repent their sins, report those who are in league with the dark and putting hope in all of those who stand by the light. You may also be called upon and asked to perform various ceremonies such as weddings, blessing of children and laying the dead to rest.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Question of Faith - or so it begins.

Working on actually getting a game out in some form or the other.  Usually I don't get to far in these attempts but now I really feel the need to finish one.  Just to achieve some sort of self-gratifying urge that has been in the back of my head for years.  So I've stepped up and put my game face on and really started to get down to the nuts and bolts of doing the deed.

The game will be called "A Question of Faith" and will be set in a dark fantasy type of world.  Players will take on the roles of warriors and priests who work for the church trying to push back and stop the influence of demons and their ilk from the land.  Going to use a lot of old beliefs in this like whenever there is an outbreak of a disease then there must be some greater evil behind it, that servants of the dark are active in trying to influence and corrupt those around us, things like that.  The demons will be a very real thing to fight, they will have physical forms (most of them) and they will be brutal. 

For the base system I will be using the WaRP OGL from Atlas Games.  It's simple and easy to modify around to fit a setting.  I'll be imposing a few limitations here and there to reinforce the game world along with adding a few bits as well.  The base mechanics will be the same, most of character creation will be the same although I will have to expand it out a bit for the 'magic' that will be available.

I've also started purchasing a few bits of stock art through drivethrurpg with more on my wish list to buy later.  Still looking for some more and I may have to either draw up some of my own or see what kind of funds I can scrape up for an actual artist to do specific work.  Problem there is that I'm poor but I'll do what I can.

Anyways this is the basic overview of the project at the moment.  I'll be posting up more on details and progress reports as they come along.  As for now I need to get back to finishing up the Character Creation section.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Numenera - Just when you thinks its over.

Just when you thought I was done.  Hell I thought I was done.  Then I picked up something at the post office today much to my surprise.

After raising my voice on my blog and in a few other places last month about the delay in receiving my copy things got done.  MCG sent me a priority 'fast as you can get it there' package through USPS.  Which is fine as I use a PO box and most delivery services don't deliver to those.  I got it in a couple of days, confirmation and all that. It has been sitting in a plastic tote in my room since then as I have no desire to even read it.

So today I get a package in the mail from PSI.  The service that MCG is using for their shipping.  Inside is another copy of Numenera.  First I thought it must be the copy that was shipped before and it really did get lost in the mail.  Nope it has an October shipping date AND it has Peter Amthor on the address (which isn't my real name, I gave MCG my real name for shipping).  So this was shipped after, like weeks after, I received the first copy. 

What does this mean?  It means their shipping company is really, REALLY, screwing up.  All I can guess at is that they are really still way behind on shipping books out.  As in they just now got to my copy.  Or maybe they just now got around to checking the 'ship these now they are late' notices from MCG.  But honestly I don't even know since they didn't have the correct name for shipping on it.  Personally I would be switching companies for handling this stuff next time, but that's just me.

So if I would have just waited as they wanted us all to do it would have been another month.

Now... I think I'm done.  I don't foresee anything else that could possibly go on with this Kickstarter that would even be worth wasting my time over.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cyberpunk Sunday 2.016 The future, drones and eco soldiers

Lets start off with a look at how a connected and advanced future is going to affect us.  This two page article takes a nice quick look at where we could be going and the challenges faced.  It really makes you set back and think a bit.

Challenges of a connected future.

Oh it's been a week or two since we've mentioned drones so it's about time to bring them up again isn't it.  We all talk about how soon we will be monitored and tracked by the little things flying over our heads.  Now we can look at how they are being purchased by police forces and then never being used (or being crashed) to do much of anything.  I guess the police state wants to watch us but just can't manage to get motivated enough to do it.

Feds waste 1.2M on drones.

Been waiting for an article like this.  Government funded eco warriors out to save the planet.  Well in Nicaragua they are out to save their rainforests.  They aren't just run of the mill eco warriors either they're the military so that makes it even better.  Actually makes me happy that some people are smart enough to realize that tearing apart our environment is a bad thing.

Nicaragua fields eco soldiers to save rainforests.

See you next week with three more links.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Question at Night

This is a very rough draft of a short story that I wrote for a game I working on.  So it still needs a bit of working on but I figured I would go ahead and share it.

'A question at night'

They stood in the center of the room waiting. He was one of the old guard, mid-thirties and worn by fighting. His armor marked by repaired damage and stained with the blood of the dark ones. She was much younger, untested and nervous. Even her armor betrayed her lack of experience, new and unmarked. Both stood beside each other looking about the room. Two empty cells made of barred walls, a table in the middle of the room covered with papers, books and some writing instruments, wooden stools and a single oil burning lamp hanging from the ceiling.

Within a few minutes a third man enters the room through the door. Wearing the leather armor of a town guardsman with one arm colored black to denote his rank as a sergeant. Carrying a bowl of soup in one hand he stops just two steps in as he raises his eyes to meet those of this visitors.

“Chevaliers... I was unaware of your presence or I would not have kept you waiting. It is an honor to be graced by your company. Please have a seat.” he motions to the chairs as he sets his soup onto the table, “I was attending to tonight’s orders and grabbing a late dinner. There is still more left if you are hungry. I can have a man bring you...”

“That isn't necessary Sergeant we are not in need of food at this time. I am Brother Joseph and this is Sister Mary, we are here to look into some matters involving some of your men.” He motioned for the guard to sit down, “Do sit down and enjoy your meal, we have a few questions to ask you while you eat and then we'll be on our way.”

With a little nod he takes his seat. A bit of sweat already appearing on his brow. He pulls a spoon from his his belt and stirs the soup a bit. “Anything you say Brother Joseph, I am always ready to aid the servants of our Lord.”

“Then before your first bite... put this in your mouth for a moment.” He drops a silver coin onto the table where it rolls a bit before stopping. The guard stares at it for a moment, sweat building more on his face, before looking up.

“Why do I need to do that? I mean what is it for Brother?”

“Just put it in your mouth please, on top of your tongue.” Her voice was a bit soft compared to the two men. But very clearly spoken and slow as if every word was premeditated long before they were spoken. Staring at her for a moment he then reached over and retrieved the coin from the table top and rubbed it slightly with his fingertips. Glancing back over at Brother Joseph while laying the coin onto his tongue.

“Good, now please swear your loyalty to our Lord who...” His words are cut short as the coin is spit back on the table, smoking with a good deal of burnt flesh and blood clinging to it. The guards mouth hanging open and a charred twitching chunk of burnt meat laying out of it. The body shook, eyes rolling back into the head, “A prayer of cleansing now Sister Mary!”

The thing that was the guard stands up quickly, inhumanly fast, bringing the table up with it. Running it forward slamming against his enemy as he tried to draw a blade. Running him back into the bars with a metal clang as they met with his armor. Sister Mary pulling her Lords Badge from beneath her robes immediately begins reciting a prayer in a clear determined voice.

With its face growing red with blackened veins it looks over to her and lets out a shrill scream. The skin of it starting to smoke faintly. Joseph regaining a bit of footing shoves the table back pushing the creature back across the floor and against the wall, shattering the table between them. In the close quarters neither are able to pull their swords reducing the fight to short strikes, kicks and shoving each other into the walls. As the prayer continues the smoke gets thicker and an acidic smell fills the room. Finally as the two tumble through the middle of the room one manages a grip on one of the chairs, bringing it across the others head knocking them down in a heap.

“Stop... that... you... wench...” Gurgling out the words as it turns towards her. The eyes bulging out now, face an almost purple red and the neck swollen to twice the width of the head. With a forward lurch and a cracking noise as a jaw dislocates itself a spew of intestines is vomited forth onto the last the Sister. Moving around her body and slithering upwards towards her arms. Pausing for a moment to keep from throwing up herself she keeps on with the prayer as the guts wrapping around her smoldered as well. They continue to pull around her, gripping her arms tightly as they constrict, trying to pull down her arm that holds the badge forward. Her throat burning with each breath from the smoke and eyes running with tears from it as well. Each word a struggle as they fight to see who can outlast the other.

Suddenly there is a flash of steel from behind the thing and the tendrils of guts go limp around her. Brother Joseph had regained his feet and finally managed to pull his sword. Headless and spurting blood the thing falls to the floor. The Sister backs away shaking the gore off of her and stumbles back against a wall gasping for breath and covering her mouth.

“Sister Mary are you injured.” She shakes her head in response as she swallows hard still keeping herself from throwing up. “You did good, your faith did not falter. Well done, especially against a Baalarashi. They are quite a nasty bit of business.”

Speaking from behind her hand still at her mouth, “I fear my stomach may not be as strong as my faith...”

“Nonsense,” with a grin and a laugh. “the first time I came face to face with one I threw all over it and myself.”

Lowering her hand and finally smiling a bit she nods. Reaching down and retrieving the fallen coin he tosses it to her. With clasped hands around it she utters a silent prayer and the flesh and blood of the creature turn to dust. As she hands it back over to him she looks out the small window into the night. “ Baalarashi almost never travel alone do they?”

“No... they do not. I fear we have our work cut out for us in this town Sister.”

Monday, October 7, 2013

Are you a loser RPG player?

This one is an oldie.  I wrote this one many long years ago along with a few other 'Top Ten' style lists.  I would have to say that this is probably a bit of a precursor to a lot of my feelings that went into the 'Be A Better Player' articles that I wrote years later.  You know where you are playing in a game and most of the time you are fighting the urge to just backhand the guy next to you.  Yeah those types of players....

Top 10 things that help determine if you are a Loser RPG Player.

1. Most if not all of your modern day characters have “and wearing a black trenchcoat” in their description.

2. Most if not all of your characters know how to use fully automatic weapons effectively. Even if their occupation was something as mundane as a Librarian.
3. You purchase your characters weapons based on which ones do the most damage not by what would fit your character the most.

4. Most if not all of your characters either have no family or they are all dead just so you don’t have any strings attached.

5. You know exactly how to play a Ronin Werewolf Demon Hunter but no idea how to play a Librarian.

6. You consider most if not all of your characters to be ‘departure characters’.

7. You know exactly how to work the game system to give you the most hit points, combat actions, extra abilities, etc, and you do it on every character.

8. Most if not all of your characters see money as the main driving goal of their lives.
9. Cheat on your die rolls when creating your characters.

10. You think your characters should always be the ones in charge and that all other PCs should listen to them and look up to them in awe.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cyberpunk Sunday 2.015 - Silk Road Seizure, bionic legs and auto tagging.

Okay first up is the government seizure of 'The Silk Road'.  A hidden website only accessible by using a TOR browser which is supposed to keep the user anonymous AND make it harder to actually find where the site is hosted.  Now first off if you didn't see this coming you really don't get reality to well.  It was being heavily used for the sales and transfer of illegal drugs using Bitcoin as it's main currency.  The owner is also under arrest for a variety of charges and probably won't be seeing the light of day anytime soon.

Of course this has also affected the value of the Bitcoin as its been on a jumpy ride ever since this happened.  But I will note that it is still very high above it's worth just last year.

Article on the seizure of the site and indictment of the owner.

Article on the current value of the Bitcoin after the seizure.

Now on to some cybertech!  Lets take a look at the development of the mind controlled bionic leg.  This tech has been in the bionic arms before but putting it into legs is a lot different.  As the article states one miscalculation could send the person spiraling to the ground.  Also notes that the US Army is funding the development of this as well.  So I'm assuming we'll be seeing disabled veterans being used to test these out in future testing.

Mind controlled bionic leg.

Okay and as we all know there are plenty of people out there who really don't like automatic face recognition software.  So they've been working on all sorts of ways around it.  From LED sunglasses to strange makeup and hairstyles that obscure facial features.  This one however is a bit less drastic.  A t-shirt meant to mess with the auto ID and causing the program to pick out the faces printed on the fabric as people.

Creepy auto tagging foiled by shirt.

Okay that's another week down.  Please tune in next week for another.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Agents of Shield predictions

Okay going to make an "Agents of Shield" predictions post.  I'll just add to it as I either make more predictions or get proven wrong... or by some stroke of luck get proven right.  I'll add the date that the predictions were put above them as well.


More and more Coulson is suspecting something is wrong with himself.  This time he paused for a moment when uttering the 'magical place' phrase and then tried to get the information on his own recovery and was denied access.  So my prediction about him knowing there is something wrong was correct.

Don't have enough data to even think about a prediction for Skye after the new information was dropped tonight.  So as a complete outright guess I'm going to with 'probably the daughter of one of the future big bads'. 


Okay one of my first predictions "Coulson is aware that he actually did die and knows there is something 'different' about himself." is starting to show up.  Now I'm setting back thinking wouldn't it be odd if they threw us the curve ball and he really is Phil Coulson and the only thing artificial is a replacement heart or something.  But I still stand by my LMD theory.  I think he was dead for quite some time before he got turned back on though.

Fitz and Simmons will hook up.  But it'll be a long drawn out Whedon style process getting there.

They keep giving us locations without actually showing us the locations.  The Slingshot, The Sandbox... I bet some of these show up again but a few will show up in some of the upcoming movies.


I don't think the doctor is going to be showing up again.  Okay I couldn't resist that one.  Now then....

Project Centipede isn't connected to the EEA's. 

Project Centipede is part of Hydra.  Which is part of the reason they are so hot to make super soldiers.  They've seen what they can do.

Skye's parents are going to end up being dead Shield agents.  But I'll admit this isn't what I thought Skye's secret was going to be, nowhere near anything I had rolling around in my head actually.

Oh and that was a nice shout back to the first Iron Man movie.


More EEA's will show up.  That's Enemy Eyeball Agents to you all.  Whoever the EC's (Eyeball Controllers) are they aren't using alien tech because they are older than the portal.  But the time frame of the agents they took could put them around Iron Man one and Stark tech may be that advanced.  Left over group of Stane's maybe?

Coulson is not a perfect copy.  Something didn't cross over right hence the lack of muscle memory last week and the rescued EEA noticing that something was changed in him.  May have to go back and watch his previous movie appearances to see if there is something actually noticeable they are doing that I'm not noticing.  At least it gives me an excuse to watch the movies again.


Agent Coulson has died before this another time.  Like between the time tonights EEA knew him and when he met the Calvary.  Hence why one would notice and the other not.


Dr Hall will return, but that is a given.  He's going to be Graviton.  If pulled off right he could easily be the 'Magneto' for Agents of SHIELD. 

The lack of muscle memory is another sign of Coulson being an LMD.  If he hasn't figured it out himself yet he will.  I still think he suspects something.  Also the 'rusty' remarks are sorta hints at him being a machine.

The bad guy that got away is part of Hydra and will return as such. 

10-3-13 predictions so far.

Coulson is a LMD (Life Model Decoy).  Originally these were robots meant to go out and take the death shot for an intended target.  Later on they got more advanced making it a lot harder to determine if they are human or not.  Coulson is getting hurt in the series, bleeds and all that.  May be a very advanced model.  OR since everybody is saying this they could turn around and prove us all wrong.

Tahiti, it's a magical place.  This is a false memory planted into Coulson.  When he was activated as a LMD to cover up the time it took to transfer his mind into it. 

Coulson is aware that he actually did die and knows there is something 'different' about himself.

If he is a LMD then Skye will be the one to figure it out.  Most likely with her computer skills.

The Rising Tide is part of Hydra.  Although I don't think some of its members know this, including Skye.