Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Update, of sorts.

So, after my little outpouring of frustration and angst, what have I done about things?

1. Curfew! - I now have a bedtime. Midnight,no later. Preferably 11 o'clock but thats flexible. The upshot will hopefully be a more energised Neil. Results so far ... decent.

2. Small victories - taking a bit of MMO psychology into life, breaking some stuff down into small bits. So doing a read-through edit of Epoch. Done. Making the adjustments to the text. Done. Sorting out my website. Done (and then some). Little things, quickly done (relatively) delivering a feeling of doing something. Excellent.

3. Dedicated reading time - reading is a pastime that I can do without judgement or approval and I love it. So giving myself a half hour each day to read is another rule. Results  - Clash of Kings is being worked through slowly but steadily and I'm loving it all over again.

More to come, but this is a good start indeed!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Poor Unloved Blog Thing

Oh my poor unloved blog thing - how I have missed you!

Its been ages since I have updated this thing, which might be taken as a sign in and of itself of some sort of massive activity elsewhere - but nothing could be further from the truth! In fact it's because I have been caught in the horrific decision and productivity paralysis that has dogged me periodically for years now.

The problem, as always, is time - with a side salad of extreme mental creativity and extreme knackeredness. Combine all of these with an apparent inability to focus and you get a horrid frustrating maelstrom of nothingness.

Take, for example, gaming? I have 101 ideas for games to run but no group to run them with, as my regular group is booked for the foreseeable future. I have got the last session of Smallville to run but that has lost a bit of steam with the three month hiatus. I have managed to negotiate a solution to said hiatus as well - thats very cool but its not a guaranteed outlet for that sort of creativity. I have considered getting another group but frankly thats a crap shoot I'm not sure I can be bothered with. There has been a payoff though, in that I have for once done something approaching prep for my convention games and that might well see me produce more resources for said games and have more one-shots available when needed. Hurrah.

And then there is the game design thing. Oh good grief. I have about six different mental balls juggling in the air and everytime I seem to get some sort of traction on one, another sparkles and draws my attention. The current list of sparkles are:

1. A revision of Duty & Honour/Beat to Quarters: The games are four years old now and showing their age. There are so many things that I look at and see how I could change and refine them, and add value to the book with extra stuff too. If I did this, it would probably be a joint 'Empire!' book as well, which makes things even more complicated.

2. Empire! In Space: This is probably the project that has the most legs, with some of the ground work having been done with my Gaunt's Ghosts game at Furnace last year and the ship-to-ship rules getting a gentle thumbs up at Continuum. The main issue here for me, is that the game doesn't have an implied setting, you know like History!, so I want to create one to build the game around ... and I really have to not just mirror Honor Harrington. That's a job.

3. Epoch - I have three quarters of a game done. Its a little portable booklet game which started as a 2-on-1 game, morphed into a 1-on-1 game and might well have to become a mixture of both. This has had a little alpha-alpha and I'm going to try a little more internal this week and get something sorted.

4. The OSR adventure - what? Well, I've been asked to write an OSR adventure. I already have some of it done but it really needs to be hammered into shape. I like the idea of this a lot, as I rarely get to write adventures and I think its quite a cool thing. Still, its another thing to do.

5. Modular Fantasy - it just will not go away! I'll bark on about this more, but there is something about this that keeps coming back, time and time again. I'm not sure what to do with it.

So from this scrum, something has to emerge as a front runner. It would seem logical that it should be one of the ones that I have in a more advanced stage of finishing. Ah logic, you wonderfully elusive beast.

Remember what I said about knackeredness? Well that has an impact as well - when its easier to do nothing than something, it can be very seductive. VERY seductive. Distractions don't help - especially that massive 800lb gorilla of 'work' which is a constant presence. Who would have thought that being a teacher could be such an all-encompassing profession ... oh yeah, teachers! Something is going to have to be done there - using my time at work more effectively to cut down the amount of slippage into my homelife is my #1 priority.

Its just all a bit of a mess really and something that I need to get sorted in my head sooner rather than later. Any suggestions from time/energy management gurus always welcome!

Prometheus Institute - 1.5 'They Came From The Stars'

A strange session today. We haven’t played for over three months and it shows in a game which really needs everyone to be on the same page. We spent a fair while just re-acquainting  ourselves with the game and the continuity and then kicked off.

The game opened with the new Promethean base being revealed, a floating (late flying) city base in international waters off the US coast. Belonging to the Thornes and dubbed ‘Olympus’ by the media, this is the new base of the Prometheus Institute after it has detached from the US government. Seth is on Olympus, doing PR work with the world press. Ares is in New York, around the financial district. Thomas is at his trailer with the Lone Gunmen, talking about aliens and Joshua is on the BBC being interviewed by Dimbleby whilst the UN discuss his request to become a UN protectorate. Many short snappy things occurred and by the end of it…

The UN were unable to offer the Prometheans protected status. The US launched a military strike on Olympus which was foiled by Seth and Ares had instituted a plan to bring down the US economy using his army of mind-controlling, time-manipulating Genius clones.

A massive emotional clash between Joshua and Professor Thorne, where the Professor confronts Joshua with all of the things that have gone wrong since he took over. The Professor doesn’t manage to win back control of the whole shebang, but as a complication he activates a safety program which makes like difficult.
Joshua tries to get Jessie to tell him who made her the carrier of the genetic trigger antidote but she will not tell him – even after he tries very hard!

The Lone Gunman explains to Thomas exactly what his theory of the aliens is – that the government has alien material, that has been found around the world (crater in Russia, Black Forest in Germany, the Yucatan basin and Area 51) and has used this to splice alien DNA into humans to create Prometheans. Thomas scoffs at this, but the Gunman is very serious and challenges him to go to Area 51, break in and see for himself.

Thomas tries this but he is scanned, detected and captured …. By Mr Olivier, the erstwhile boss of BioMechanics. Thomas is shackled in power dampeners which stop his shadow powers and has to suffer a monologue of epic proportions as Olivier shows him the alien probe that has been the source of the material which created the US Prometheans. He explains the new plan for a super solider army based not on superhumans, or clones, but on lab-grown and educated superpowered zealots bent to the American cause. Thomas has heard enough and pops the dampeners with his Techopathy (silly Olivier had only stopped his Shadow powers) and kills Olivier with this own shadow. Sadly, in the fracas, a bullet goes off and the massive  alien crystal probe is released, burning a hole in the bunker roof and floating up into the atmosphere, casting a column of light into the skies.

Ares is struck down again by psychic premonition of alien spaceships moving through the solar system.  Concerned by this, he uses his time control powers to circumvent the security at the Pentagon and meet with The Man from the Government (aka Weapon II) to share the information. TMFTG reveals that he too has had the premonition, as have all of the other Ares around the planet. The aliens are coming and all TMFTG’s defences – the Prometheans and Project Ares – are either disbanded or out of action due to being altered and released into the wild! The Earth is defenceless. Ares suggested that they did not know whether the aliens were friend or foe? He suggests that a genius intellect could use the time powers of the various Ares to set up some sort of Einstein Rosen Bridge(or a wormhole, to the uninitiated) to have a glimpse of the future and see? This was agreed, although there were some worries about causality etc. TMFTG pledged to help
Ares returns to Olympus, requesting that all of his Ares clones return as well. When they arrive, they all see another glimpse of the alien ships, accelerating to Earth. Jessie is there too, helping load up more arriving depowered prometheans who have responded to the request of Joshua and Seth to use Olympus as a safe haven. Even the dying Masada has arrived.  Ares explains his plan to Joshua and he agrees to help, only to be interrupted by the ever annoying Professor Thorne … who agrees with the plan, turns the station back over to Joshua’s control and helps with the project – father and son working together at last. The bridge is opened and they see open warfare between the aliens and an army of re-empowered prometheans.

Meanwhile, Seth arrives to examine the source of the light and realising that he cannot stop it, he enters the light and feels instant peace and euphoria. He floats up into the skies, bathed in the light – like a God! He meets the alien fleet in the upper atmosphere, just as the probes are landing on Earth, disembarking hundreds of 20’ tall manga-armoured glowing white alien warriors with energy lances and massive gun gloves. In the light he meets their leader, a humanoid who looks his absolute double. A hand is extended to him and he realises this might be his … father? The pair descend in the column of light as the world looks on – invasion or conversion, imminent.