End of An Era

4 years ago, I picked up the Mirrors book for World Of Darkness, a collection of alternative rules that let you run “outside the box” games in the WoD setting. That led to a one shot that centered around 7 characters reprsenting the 7 deadly sins being trapped in a mirror maze by a fae and forced to find their way out while also in a “last man standing” situation because the fae wanted to know which sin was the deadliest. Much fun was had and I decided to rework the idea into an ongoing campaign, wherein players would be allowed to bring in characters from any of the WoD arenas (except Mage, for reasons too long to get into here).

Over the next 4 years we managed to stay more or less in the same timeline, despite major changes to the players at the table, venue, and changes in the base of operations. This past Sunday I ran the last game. Of the “first season cast” I had 2 players still at my table, plus 4 more we had picked up along the way (Mirrors has always had a full table). When we started we were at Dice House, moved to the International Coffee House, and eventually wrapped up at the new home of one of my long term players. The first three “seasons” the characters were in Seattle, this last season we explored Las Vegas, then a post-apoc Mohave Desert.

My original story arc, involving pitting the players against a fae determined to bring about a neverending winter, a powerful Changeling determined to stop her, and the vampires who were caught in the crossfire was really completed at the end of the second season. Everything else has been about consequences of that explosive and emotional season finale. Last Sunday, things finished much like they began, with a bloody fight with some vampires after an escape from a manipulative fae. It seems befitting, but also confirms to me that I made the right decision to finally bring things to a close.

It’s time for new adventures. In January, I will finally commit myself fully to running Changeling, instead of just borrowing from it on a regular basis, and we will be turning back the clock to Victorian timess. Things should be interesting.

November has been a busy month, so here’s a brief overview of things since my last post:

We visited Comikaze, had a great time, spend too much money, and wrote a whole article about it for Topless Robot, which you can read here.

Speaking of Topless Robot articles, we also posted a gift guide for that RPG geek in your life. Or you. Whichever. Check that out here.

We attended the very geeky wedding of some friends of ours, which involved custom dice as keepsakes, fandom themed tables for the rehersal dinner (we were at the Doctor Who table), and a Portal themed wedding cake. We wrapped up the wedding weekend with a screening of Big Hero Six. Super fun and highly appropriate to the bride and groom.

As previously mentioned, we attended the Nerds Like Us screening of The Crow. Bai Ling did a Q&A at the event, which was much fun. There was a cosplay contest, which was also much fun. But the most important thing is our daughter LOVED the movie and is now going to read the original comic it was based on. Geek parent win on that one.

Thing I’m geeking out on this week: 90s era trade paperbacks.

Alright, if you’ve been paying attention, I’ve been geeking out on those since I started rebuilding my Transmetropolitan collection a few months back. But picking up The Crow TPB for the Boo reminded me how much good obscure stuff is out there some of you might not even remember or never got to experience the first time. So, I’m working on a list for you. I think I have a venue for it and I will drop the linkage on you when that’s posted. In the meantime, go pick up The Crow, some black eyeliner, and a copy of The Cure’s greatest hits. You can thank me later.

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Fangs and Feathers

This past weekend was wall to wall DGS activity. We had a very successful Halloween party, thanks to much help from my team of volunteers. We went with a spider and skulls theme, with many spider webs any place we could put one up. For food and drink, the host team provided a build your own sandwich bar, sodas, and chips, while attendees brought additional sides and desserts, with one of our DGS members going above and beyond and brewing us a special DGS run of his home brew beer. Our master brewer also won our costume contest having dressed up, appropriately enough, as a steampunk mad scientist/brewer.

Several attendees also brought board games, which became the primary activity of the party. We got to try out Lords of Waterdeep, a D&D themed strategy game that played like a far more complex version of Revolution or Monopoly. As the name suggests, you play Lords living in Waterdeep, and as you play the game you hire adventurers and acquire resources for completing various “quests” in exchange for victory points. Everyone got the gist of the game pretty quick and had a good time. I won. This game is likely to go on our Christmas list.

On Sunday I ran the second to last session of Mirrors. We started the game right where we left off last month, with our protagonists running for lives from a group of vampire guards while their escape was covered by a Changeling dragon. It is one of the few times I’ve actually busted out the dry erase maps and miniatures for a World of Darkness game. There was much running and sword fighting and crashing of elevators. World of Darkness isn’t exactly known for its fighting rules, but they are adequate for running a more action based scene. However, because players rarely have to actually engage the rules, I find they tend to go kind of slow. I ended up cutting the scenario down a bit to accommodate our time limits. That was okay though, because my surprise twist went over with the same dramatic oomph I had hoped for, and we ended the session with one of our PCs making a very serious moral decision. Now my players have some important choices to make that will determine not only their characters’ fates, but the fate of the NPCs they’ve been representing this whole story arc. Which is really how every good World of Darkness game should end, don’t you think?

We started Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel and having a blast. It’s an interesting twist to be working for Handsome Jack instead of against him, although he is still an egotistical jerk, so the characterization is at least consistent. Also, the story is actually told as a giant flashback, so you still get to enjoy commentary from all your favorite Borderlands characters while exploring a whole new area. My only real issues are that so far, the oxygen mechanics have been just another resource to manage, and it is taking what feels like FOREVER to get our additional gun slots and to use the new Grinder system. But as an expansion on the Borderlands universe, it’s overall been good fun.

On the TV front:

This week’s Supernatural was one of my favorite episodes in recent memory. This was the Demon Dean I’d been expecting. The Shining-esque scenario was very well played out, with some great acting moments by both Jared and Jensen. It actually made me think if Constantine or Gotham do well, DC should give Jensen a shot at playing Etrigan/Jason Blood. Supernatural is on Season 10 – it can’t last forever. Or can it? This season is pretty awesome so far. Knock on wood.

Gotham continues to be brilliant. If you are not watching it, do yourself a favor and go stream the season so far. There is just something really fun about a crime procedural set in a fictional 60s universe with super villains and a young Bruce Wayne who is getting an early start on being the smartest guy in the room. The magical realism tone is very similar to Hannibal, but so far the show is way more PG-13. It is BATMAN after all.

We have also watched the pilot for Arrow and it was amazing. Between all the video game releases and RPGs and wedding attendance plans, and everything else, I’m not sure when we are going to get a chance to binge watch the rest of the season, but hopefully we can make that happen soon.

Thing I’m geeking out on this week:

The Crow. Specifically the 20th anniversary screening we will be attending next month that is being hosted by Nerds Like Us, as part of their monthly nerdy midnight film viewing series. (If you like geek flavored cinema and/or attended high school in the 90s, you should totally check them out.) I am so going to rock the Eric Draven face paint.

More specifically, getting tickets to that made me want to look up the soundtrack. I forgot how much I used to love this album. There are some favorites of mine on here: Stone Temple Pilots, NIN covering Joy Division, Violent Femmes, Rage Against the Machine, Rollins Band, Pantera, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and The Cure. This album is like early 90s non-grunge rock in a time capsule.

Extremely specifically, however, I’ve been obsessing on the track “Burn” by The Cure.

Rediscovering this song was like finding an old flannel in the back of my closet and finding out it not only still fits, but it somehow still smells of strawberry cloves (don’t judge me – it was the 90s). For me, this song is pure nostalgia in aural form. I can crank this song up on my headphones, close my eyes, and instantly I am sitting in the back of my pickup, parked on the roof of the parking garage at Fullerton College after a night class reading the latest Mercedes Lackey novel. I can smell the rain in the air, feel the brisk fall chill, and remember a time when I actually had to call people on the phone to find out who was hanging out at the Winged Heart before heading over for a late night cup of coffee and maybe a round of pool. Good times.

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