Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Telcos = Greedy Bastards = No Surprise

Here's a couple of interesting articles on how telecom companies are focusing on milking customers for short term, Wall Street appeasing gains rather than investing and keeping pace with the rest of the civilized world.

This article is really the core of the discussion, the second article mostly references the first but brings up at least one other good point.

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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows Trailer

I put the trailer after the jump to keep the front page of the blog from bogging down too much.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

Battleship Yamato Trailer

I remember getting up early to watch Starblazers on Channel 44 when I was a kid. I hope that this movie makes it to the states... it's chock full of nostalgia. I just wish the trailer showed the Wave-Motion Gun actually firing.

See more at io9.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Homemade General Grievous Costume

I don't speak German, but I think he just said Grievous would lead Germany to victory.

All kidding aside, this guy did a great job with that costume... I bet it looks really creepy in dim lighting.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GM Etiquette

Along the lines of Player Etiquette, a post about GMing has prompted me to write something along the lines good rules for GMs.

GMing can seem like a thankless job, but people do it because it's fun. Fortunately really bad GMs will winnow themselves out, driving away players. But good GMs can still engage in bad behaviors, I know that I've done it.

1)You are not the players' adversary. It is not your job to screw over or wipe out the players.

2) Don't play favorites. This goes double if you play with an SO or spouse and triple if you have a romantic interest in a player but no relationship.

3) Don't pick on players/characters. Yes, someone at your table may be irritating or you're annoyed at that rules lawyer. That doesn't mean he's suddenly wearing Axe for Monsters.

4) PCs should be the stars. The players aren't there to entertain or provide an audience for your NPCs.

5) Don't hinge the entire night on the players figuring out something that you think is obvious.

6) Don't run if you aren't up to it. GMs usually feel a certain sense of duty that makes them feel obliged to run a game even though they physically or mentally aren't up to it. Players would rather take a break, have a movie night, or play something else than sit through a sucky game.

7) Don't railroad. Even if you spent hours crafting the Dungeon of Woe, if your players decide they'd rather visit the village of Hamhock, let them. The dungeon will still be there.

8) Don't keep your players in a hopeless situation. Drama is good, boring despair is not. Role-playing through the characters' prolonged imprisonment with nightly torture is no fun. Time for a cut scene.

9) Be consistent and fair.

I know I haven't hit them all, but these were at the top of mind.


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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Player Etiquette

I stumbled across this blog post, Five Things You hould Never Say To Your DM, and it got me thinking a little, namely about player etiquette. I have the good fortune to play with seasoned vets, but not every GM is so fortunate. And even us old-timers slip occasionally, my self included.

1) Don't hog the spotlight. Yes it's more fun when you're the focus of attention, but everyone is there to have fun. This includes in game and out of game.

2) Don't rules lawyer/setting lawyer. Unless the GM is making a mistake that will kill a character, wait until after the game to ask about it. You may know something more about a given setting or system than the GM, but you're not the one going to the effort of providing a game for everyone else and having to mentally juggle a zillion things. And half the times I've been called out on rules I've turned out to be right, and usually in the other cases I still stuck by my ruling (the exception being if my mistake would off a character).

3) Don't waste time. Nowadays, everyone's time is valuable and game time may be limited. Don't slow things down by playing with your iPhone, browsing the web or reading instead of paying attention and being ready when your turn comes. Sure what everyone else is doing may not be as interesting as that text message or the latest issue of Captain Thunder, but it's rude to make everyone else wait (and as a GM I personally would be tempted to skip that player's turn).

4) Limit the tangents. Try to keep down the distracting funny comments, smart aleck remarks and side conversations. I'm often guilty of this as well, and it can be hard, but if you only have 3-4 hours to play and lose an hour to banter... that's 25-33% of everyone's game time gone.

5) Don't whine. If the GM was really out to get you, your character would probably be dead already.

6) Don't make "joke" actions. See above about wasting time and an evil GM (we're all evil) may decide your character carries out whatever stupid thing you thought would be funny.

7) Don't harp on the setting or system. Not everyone is going to like every setting equally, and no game system is perfect. But the GM picked those for a reason, and when you run a game you can pick your favorite setting and system. Rubbing the flaws of the current game in the GM's face wins you no points.

8) Don't cheat. I think this should go without saying, but some people have done it in the past and it happens at tables out there. And people will notice if your mech seems to have extra armor points or you snatch up your dice as soon as you roll.

I know this list isn't exhaustive, but it's a good start and probably similar to advice you'll find in other sources. Like I said, as a GM, I'm pretty lucky. Now I need to come up with the GM Etiquette side.


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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lightsaber Laser

Wicked Lasers has come out with a 1W blue laser housed in what looks like a lightsaber hilt. This $200 toy is "extremely dangerous", capable of causing instant permanent retina damage and burning your skin off.

While the geek part of me wants one, I'd almost be afraid to turn the thing on.

More in an article on io9.


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Monday, June 14, 2010

New TOR Trailer

A new trailer is out for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and it is full of awesome. Check it out after the jump.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

CNN Article On D&D

No, it's not the old-school "D&D is devil-worship" kind of article. It's a story about the new D&D Encounters, a program that WotC is running in game stores trying to bring people back to the hobby or get them to try it for the first time.

The article talks about how a lot of players have left the hobby due to lifestyle changes, which is true. People get jobs, families and other obligations and can't make the time to play.

A couple of things I find interesting. One is no mention for another reason for loss of players from the current game, the "edition wars" between the Old School/ 3.5 camps and 4e. These are people that still play, but don't buy WotC's product in doing so.

The other thing is that one of the complaints about 4e is that fights take too long. WotC deals with this by prepackaging everything for the adventure as opposed to looking at the mechanics.

Check out the article, if nothing else it's nice to see D&D get some press that doesn't involve us being evil. Along with comic books and rock & roll.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

15 Imperial Marches

Check the rest out at The Swedish Bed.

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New Thundercats (Again)

The last incarnation of a revived Thundercats I heard was the live action rock band version (ugh). The newest attempt to bring back the Thundercats sounds like it may actually be watchable. Check out this io9 article.

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