28 December 2010

Mutant of the Week - Wegg

Here is another mutant for the D&D Gamma World game (game by Wizards of the Coast).

This one is a Wheeled-Magnetic
STR: 8 (-1)
DEX: 16 (+3)
CON: 18 (+4)
INT: 9 (-1)
WIS: 10 (0)
CHA: 5 (-3)
Fortitude Defense: +15
Reflex Defense: +16
Willpower Defense: +11
Armor Class: 11
Hit Points: 30
Skill Bonuses: +8 bonus to Athletics, +4 bonus to Mechanics
Mutant Powers
All-Wheel Drive
Magnatized Body
Maximum Overdrive
Lodestone Lure
Wegg was a normal humanish kid.  As he approached adulthood he began to manifest magnetic powers.  In one failed experiment with these powers he accidentally fused his body with a nearby shopping cart.
To-day he appears to be an obese man with greasy black hair overflowing out of a shopping cart.  No sign of any legs under the mass of flesh.  Despite this appearance, Wegg is incredibly acrobatic since he can magnetically move the shopping cart that makes up his lower body.
He usually tries to hid his true mobility and tumbling skills and plays up being a clumbsy oaf.  When it comes time for conflict, however, he is very daring and usually catches his adversary by surprise.

27 December 2010

Vacation Homes in Sims 2

I Played a little more Sims 2 over Christmas. The Fugg family has made its way on another vacation. This time their vacation was to a new vacation home. There are many advantages to owning a vacation home in the Sims 2 for both Legacy Challenges and for the normal game.

The primary advantage is that while staying at a vacation home your Sims can build up their skills as if they were home. Given that the aging clock is on pause while they spend time on vacation, this can give many extra days of skill and badge building in your Sims’ life, It makes it possible to max out all skills before even starting college.

Additionally as you meet new NPCs while on vacation it is easy to spend one or two days of a seven day vacation and throw parties at the vacation home. This helps to build up relationships and gain new friends during the Sims holiday.

Family & Friends fishing on Green Thicket Manor vacation home lot

The most recent Fugg family vacation had a number of highlights. A few new family friends have been added, fishing badges have been advanced for most family members, some slight modifications and additions have been made to the vacation home, and Albert learned to teleport from a ninja.

The teleportation is going to come in handy. It’ll be neat to add some sections to the Legacy Lot that don’t have any doors. Albert will have his own Fortress of Solitude away from other pesky sims.

Over the next few game days I’ll focus on building up the family business. They have purchased a large park lot in the center of town because it had a lot of land and was inexpensive. Now I’ll be developing it and trying to create a level 10 business out of it. It’ll be a shame to wreck the look of the center of town by adding a bunch of buildings but there are luckily no zoning laws for Albert to deal with.

Eventually I’ll have to decide which of the three sons will become the official heir of the family. Once I figure that out that character will move off to college and the others will move out on their own. Looks like I’ll have to keep the offspring down to one or two each generation, at least if I want to continue breeding dogs.

This whole Legacy Challenge thing is taking longer than I thought, but I just don’t want to push it too much and get burnt out.

Another update will come soon.

21 December 2010

Mutant of the Week - Pementa

Here is a random mutant rolled up using the new D&D Gamma World game. I think I'm going to do some more of theses as a weekly series just to show some of the strange things you can get with the new Gamma World. Descriptions of the mutant powers can be found in the rule book.:


STR = 12 (+1)
DEX = 11 (0)
CON = 18 (+4)
INT = 13 (+1)
WIS = 16 (+3)
CHA = 5 (-3)

Hit Points: 30
Speed: 6

Fortitude Defense: 17
Reflex Defense: 12
Will Defense: 14
Armor Class: 12

+2 Bio Overcharge
Vulnerable to Fire
Fire Resistance
Fiery Aura
Lashing Creepers
Fiery Flare

Character Background
Pementa is a mutant chili pepper. It was born in southern North America a number of years ago.

Being both vulnerable and resistant to fire means that Pementa is in a state of constant pain. It made its way norht over the years hoping that the cooler climates would reduce its suffering.

Having a fire aura makes it difficult for Pementa to make friends. It now lives in the outskirts of the ruins of ancient Rah-Chez-Tur.

(Gamma World is owned by Wizards of the Coast, go to their website and poke around for more info)

20 December 2010

Review - Futureworld


Westworld (1973) was an awesome movie.  It had all sorts of cool stuff including a fancy resort where people could live out their fantasies, androids, gunfights, Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin…  well Richard Benjamin in a serious role.

Hey, you've got Futureworld in your eye
Three years later the sequel was released, Futureworld!  The Delos resort has opened two years after the disaster at Westworld.  Over 50 guests were killed and 95 staff were inured or killed during that mishap.  Now, in the far future year of 2002, they claim to have worked out the problem and are again open for business.  The Westworld area has been shut down and the new Futureworld has been added as an option for the guests.

A couple of reporters are sent to do preliminary work on a news story about Delos.  They have names, but that isn’t really an important part of the story.  Now a protagonist should basically be a character or characters in the story that the audience is supposed to care about and identify with on some level.  Then when they face the obstacles and challenges of the story we actually give a rat’s buttocks what happens to them.  Our protagonists for Futureworld are lame and annoying.  I was hoping to see Yul blow one of them away at some point.

The Protagonists
 Anyway, these two characters go to Delos for their story.  The male lead, we’ll call him Todd for the sake of argument, had an earlier encounter with a man who supposedly came from Delos and had important information for him.  This man, not Todd, is assassinated and all Todd finds on his body are news clips of various important world leaders who have made recent trips to Delos.  Instead of letting the police handle things I guess Larry decided to just steal the evidence from a murder scene and try to create a great story about it.  Needless to say Todd looses all of his objectivity and is out to ‘get’ Delos…  sorta like a real reporter in 2002.

During the whole trip and arrival at Delos we are continually told how safe everything is and how nothing could possibly go wrong.  After the eighth or ninth time I hear the reassurances I was certain we’d have a repeat of the Westworld disaster.  They weren’t going to use the same story again were they?

Anyway our two protagonists go to Futureworld instead of Medievalworld or Romanworld, it’s the fancy new addition to the resort and it also happens to be the name of the movie.  After a simulated rocket ride they arrive on the ‘spaces station.’  There are cool things to do in Futureworld, including skiing on Mars (where the snow is red and the gravity is one-third of Earth’s), spacewalking around the space station, and other activities.  However there are really two activities that people go to Delos for, I’ll go into those in detail down below.

The Future looks a lot like the '70s
Our Todd and the female reporter don’t get to do much fun stuff before they are pulled away into the bowels of Delos to see how things actually operate.  It is revealed the reason nothing can go wrong this time is that nearly all the staff are now androids so that human errors can’t cause another disaster.  That can’t be good.

We next get a strange scene where a demonstration is made of some sort of dream recorder.  Our female protagonist is strapped in and falls asleep and her dream is shown on a video monitor for all to see.  It involves some strange bad guys harassing her and then she is rescued by The Gunslinger.  After he saves her they begin a strange dance and end up in bed together making out.  It is the most absurd scene in the movie and does not seem to make too much sense since before leaving on the trip she watched the video footage of The Gunslinger going around Westworld murdering people.  Strange what turns some people on.

This scene made me cry because it was so stupid
The real purpose of that scene was to get Yul Brynner’s name on it and make people think something awesome was going to happen.  I guess I can’t blame him for doing it, he may have needed some extra cash and got a chance to make-out with Blythe Danner.  It’s just a shame that was the last performance he made on screen before his death.

The movie continues with our heroes…. I mean the main characters of the movie… stumbling around in some restricted areas of Delos.  They meet an engineer and his out-of-date android, ‘Clark.’  With his help they uncover the real plot of the movie.  Delos is replacing world leaders and generals and such with organic androids which are indistinguishable form the originals and totally loyal to Delos.  Yikes, world conquest from an android brothel!

Clark, the real hero of this movie, and all he did was cheat at cards
As the protagonists attempt to escape (and that engineer guy that helped them gets killed) but are confronted by organic androids of themselves that were going to replace them and write good stories about Delos.  The androids happened to decide to wear the same clothes as the originals so we have no idea who won the life and death struggles until the last minutes of the film.

As might be guessed from a simplistic film from the ‘70s the originals defeated their android duplicates and pretended to be the androids in order to escape Delos.  And as they escape Todd turns to the director of Delos and appears to give him the finger.  In actuality I believe he was giving the audience the finger because we had to sit through all that… the exploitation of Yul, the under-utilization of Clark, and the rather lame story.

Oh well.  At least Westworld is still awesome.

The actual purpose of Delos is for the guests to fulfill their dreams of sex and violence.  The androids do whatever the guests want including being their sex slaves.  Many of the androids are also designed to be murdered.  Charming.

Additionally, back in the movie Westworld, they explained how the resort’s weapons worked.  They had heat sensors that would be able to tell the difference between a living being (it would be warm) and an android (it would be room temperature).  The weapons would work only against the poor room temperature bastard and the guests would be fine.  So the androids are room temperature… that’s kinda creepy considering the other use for androids is sex.  Delos is a necrophliac’s dream come true.  Now they just have to add on Whitechapelworld so the guests can try their hand at stalking and killing prostitutes.

I’d have to give this film a four out of thirteen.  There was a good idea buried in there somewhere, so that’s worth a couple of points.  There was a cool cover of the Famous Monsters of Filmland that featured Clark the andoid, so that’s worth another point or two.  I’m rounding up to four since I’m a generous and awesome person.

This rating makes it worth watching for background noise as you do something else.  It is suggested you watch Westworld first to get the whole backstory.

If you’ve seen Futureworld please let me know what you think.

16 December 2010

Star Frontiers!

As I've been thinking back to the early days of gaming I remembered a great little science-fiction game by TSR back in the early '80s, Star Frontiers.  Dralasites, Vrusk, Yazarians, Sathar and all sorts of cool stuff were included in that role-playing game.  I did some quick web searches looking for memories people may have had of that game and I came across Starfrontiers.com.

This site claims to be the official Star Frontiers site, with permission from Hasbro.  That's cool.  Especially since they happen to have PDF copies of nearly every Star Frontiers supplement and boxed set.  If you remember the good-old-days when Star Frontiers was new or just want to do some research on the early days of gaming a visit to that site would not be wasted.

I'm not sure if I'd use that old system if I ran a Star Frontiers campaign again.  Some d20 variant or GURPS might work better.  But I could be wrong, despite how simple the Star Frontiers system is, it might still be a functional system viewed nearly 30 years later....  30 years?  Dang I'm getting old.  I still remember as a youngling spending hours designing starships for the Knight Hawks supplement.  I might have to design a couple of ships this weekend for old time's sake.

13 December 2010

Happy Wold Newton Day

On 13 December 1795 the first observed meteorite strike in Britain took place near the village of Wold Newton. The meteorite was an L6, ordinary chondrite, with a mass of about 25 kilograms. This event was used as part of a literary concept developed based on some of the works of Philip José Farmer.

In the Wold Newton Universe a couple of carriages were passing by when the meteor struck. The people inside were irradiated by the strange energies of the impact. Their descendants would become some of the greatest literary characters of all time including: Tarzan, Doc Savage, Phileas Fogg, Nero Wolfe, Sherlock Holmes, Allan Quartermain, Sam Spade, and many others.

It started with Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke where Farmer examines Tarzan’s life in detail and gives links to many other fictional characters. It is written as if Tarzan was an actual person and that Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote Lord Greystoke’s highly fictionalized memoirs.

Later came Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. In this Mr. Farmer gives Doc Savage the same treatment he gave Tarzan and expanded the Wold Newton Universe.

Other people have also added to the WNU as well. Attempts are made to connect other characters to the existing works. It is sort of like genealogical research for fictional characters. More info can be found on Wold Newton Universe website which is maintained by Win Scott Eckert.

The whole Wold Newton concept has gotten me to read a large number of old books that A decade ago I never would have imagined I’d read. I’ve even started searching out interesting but nearly forgotten books form the 19th century and finding Ebook copies on Google Books. This has expanded my horizons and been both entertaining and educational; that’s why I’m wishing everyone a Happy Wold Newton Day. I want to inspire others to have fun reading again.

If I ever make my way to England one of the stops I’d have to make is to visit the site of the meteor crash. However that is still secondary to spending a couple of nights in Portmeirion.

07 December 2010

Wiki on a Stick

I've finished repairing some minor corruption on my Wiki on a Stick. It took a total of about five or six hours, but I got to listen to one of my audio books as I worked.

What is a wiki on a stick? Well it is your own personal wikipedia on a thumb drive. It starts with no entries but can quickly be filled with information useful to the owner. I'm filling up mine with role-playing campaign notes, old blog entries, and other writings of mine. I've even added journal entries and plan to add research notes for my family tree.

Basically it is for personal information management. It is also great for note taking since you can link individual words in your notes to pages given more information and categories to organize various entries.

Sure there are online sites where you can set up your own wikia. However, those have the disadvantage of being online instead of hidden away on a thumb drive. A wiki on a thumb drive can be more secure and can be used on your laptop where no wireless is available.

As with anything else related to computers just be sure to make regular back-ups. that's what saved me countless hours fixing my file the last couple of days.

And which audio books have I been listening to? Harry Turtledove's After the Downfall as well as some episodes of the old radio show Dimension X.
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