“I feel it in my bones A need to be your god A need to strike you down When order disappeared And madness took control The conscience in me drowned[…]” - Remains, Aviators
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Very well, another favourite ~ :3 I loved James McAvoy playing Victor von Frankenstein like he did in the movie. And maybe it wasn’t the best one (Storyline etc.) but I quite enjoyed it to be honest and I could watch it over and over again and seeing him acting like a very mad scientist ~ // it’s like ppl saying Welcome to the Punch is a shitty movie (Go f*** yourselves!) //
This post is inspired
by the Geek and Sundry show of the same name where a series of hosts
draw attention to a variety of things (be they books, music, games,
charities or whatever) they like and wish more people knew about.
Just like the real show (which is a pretty cool way to fill in five
minutes every week) I’m about to talk about three things I think might be
worth your attention.
This book series mixes
Lovecraftian horror with British spy thrillers and anchors the whole
thing with banal office bureaucracy. The foundation of the series is
the idea that magic is essentially incredibly advanced mathematics
and the by solving certain equations we can contact other planes of
existence, summon inhuman beings (aka demons), and make them Do
Things for us. Of course its far more complex than that (and
explained far better in the actual books), and I am constantly
impressed with how Stross takes his basic ideas and builds on them in
increasingly interesting and original directions. The version of
Vampires he introduces in the Book 5 quickly became of my favourite
reinterpretations of the myth, but even that doesn’t compare to the
unicorns in the short story Equoid.
While the world Stross
builds is one of the strongest parts of the series, it is by no mean
the only strength of the series. The blend of the banal and fantastic
is often hilarious and all too relateable. Bob Howard (the
narrator/protagonist) simultaneously functions as an
‘in-over-his-head’ anti-action hero (in fact he is often over
shadowed by many of the series strong female characters including his
badass wife) while still managing to kick ass when needed. I am
endlessly amused by the way the Laundry applies spy thriller style
code names to everything (BLUE HADES, SCORPIAN STARE, GOD GAME
RAINDOW, BASHFUL INCIDIARY, etc.)
While the series does
stumble occasionally getting a little too meta (especially in Book 2
which goes way off the deep end with characters knowingly
deconstructing the tropes of James Bond), I am absolutely obsessed
with it at the moment (only a book and half til I’m caught up). A
well built world with a unique twist on how the supernatural works
does more to hook me into a series than anything else, and The
Laundry Files does it better than pretty much any urban/modern day
fantasy series I’ve ever read.
(Boost #1 and a half:
The Laundry RPG - I recently got all of
The Laundry RPG (set in the Laundry Files universe using a modified
version of the d100/Call of Cthulhu engine) in a bundle of holding.
I’m only half way into the main rulebook, but it looks good so far. I
aim to run a game before the end of the year once I have had enough
free time to really get my teeth into it.)
Recommending a Melodic
Death Metal album may be an exercise in redundancy, after all anyone
who likes this kind of music has probably already heard (and loved)
this album and I lost every one else at Melodic Death Metal. But this
is my signal boost and after my first listen Jomsviking quickly
became the album to beat for my favourite album of 2016.
I tend to connect with
music on one of two levels: either with the vocals and the
story/message/theme they are trying to convey or with music itself if
its in a style/genre I enjoy. Obviously I’m more likely to enjoy
bands that can do both, and Amon Amarth have long been some of the
best story tellers on the more extreme end of the metal spectrum.
Songs like Embrace of the Endless Ocean, The Hero, or Fate of Norns
are master-classes in telling a short story or capturing the feel of
a single moment while still making a kick ass metal track.
Jomsviking is their
most recent album, and their first attempt at concept album. The
story follows a young Viking warrior who is forced to flee home
following an ill-fated romance and ends up joining the Jomsvikings, a
legendary mercenary guild. He eventually returns home and meets a
suitably tragic end.
While the album is as
great musically as you would expect from a band that has been on top
of their game for several albums, it is really the storytelling that
puts this album above and beyond for me. The opening line (“The
first man I ever killed/ was the earl’s right hand man/ when he came
to take her away”) tells a whole story by itself and the whole
album is full of lines or phrases that are equally masterful with
their depth and meaning. The stand out track has to be the
penultimate song 'A dream that cannot be (feat Doro Pesch)’ where the
main character is reunited with his love interest and it is just the
most perfectly tragic subversion of everything that came before it.
Not just a great album musically, Jomsviking is full of tiny moments
that have stuck with me between listens and is in many ways a better
story than most movies/books I’ve watched/read in 2016.
While I could recommend
the entire Dungeon World system (because honestly its probably the
best story focused/one off friendly/rules light fantasy roleplaying
system I know of) I instead want to focus on a small part of Dungeon
World. Namely the advice given to the GM in chapter 13 of the core
rules. I’ve read a lot of RPG rules books, and even more system
neutral GM advice, and the guidance given in Dungeon World continues
to have the biggest impact on how I prepare for and run games.
The Principles are a
series of ideas on how the GM should go about designing and
presenting their world, while the Moves are more about how the GM
should go about responding to players and their actions. Both are
presented first as a list of simple phrases ('Draw Maps, Leave
Blanks’, 'Use up their resources’ etc.) then with a paragraph or two
discussing each phrase. It doesn’t get too in-depth but I can see
where the authors are coming from even in the few instances I don’t
agree with them or struggle to put it into practise. A few moves are
designed to only really work with Dungeon World (or other games using
Powered by the Apocalypse engine), and while they don’t directly
translate into more complex systems (such as D&D) I’ve still
found it useful to keep them in mind. The principles especially have
made doing GM prep a lot easier, allowing me to focus my limited
energy and time in more useful directions.
Just like Dungeon World
as a whole, the GM principles and moves won’t fit every gaming
group’s style of play. But most people I’ve played with
appreciate a more story focused, cinematic gaming experience and by
keeping this advice in mind I’ve been able to run a better game for
So that’s my first
signal boost. Will I do another one? Maybe. Should you do one if you
have three things you are passionate about? If you want, I’m not the
boss of you.
“Oja-ale is the night market run by the dead. Everything can be bought for a deadly price. Alan Pearson is a sceptical British diplomat, contemptuous and dismissive of native superstitions… Until the day he receives a terrifying purchase from the Night Market, which defies Western science and logic. And Alan must finally confront the chilling truth of Oja-ale. - “Night Market - Oja-ale” A dead child returns to haunt his grieving mother with terrifying consequences - “The Unclean” The ghost of a drowned slave is resurrected from his watery grave to exact revenge on the family that betrayed him and sold him into slavery, with tragic consequences - “Our Bones Shall Rise Again”.
Three chilling stories of revenge by the restless dead buried in Unhallowed Graves by the frontrunner of African Horror and author of The Reluctant Dead, Nuzo Ono”