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Roleplaying Games I Might Someday Try (Again) 6: Traveller by Marc Miller (Original)/Gareth Hanrahan (Mongoose)

26 Jul, 2021

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The science fiction RPG Traveller is, of course, one of the most venerable role-playing games. As I mention here, it’s the game that got me hooked on roleplaying as a hobby. I have a respectable Traveller library. It is mainly Classic Traveller, although Mongoose Games’ version is well represented. Despite that, I’ve gotten to play surprisingly little Traveller over the years.

But on Wednesday, I should receive my copy of an intriguing Traveller campaign in whose kickstarter I took part. Perhaps that will be enough to inspire me to finally either run or take part in a Traveller campaign once more! 

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Books Received, July 17 — July 23

24 Jul, 2021


Campaigns & Companions: The Complete Role-Playing Guide for Pets edited by Alex de Campi

Grab your dice and pencil, sit your pets down, teach them to play… and immediately regret your choices.

Hilarious collection of Dungeons & Dragons-themed pet jokes by acclaimed comics creators Andi Ewington, Rhianna Pratchett, Calum Alexander Watt and Alex de Campi

What if your pets could play D&D? And what if they were… kind of jerks about it? If there are two things all geeks love, it’s roleplaying games, and their pets. So why not fuse the two? It’s time to grab your dice, dust off that character sheet, and let your cat or dog (or guinea pig, or iguana, or budgie) accompany you on an epic adventure! It’ll be great! …unless your pets are jerks. Written by comics and videogames writers Andi Ewington (Forty-Five45) and Rhianna Pratchett (Tomb Raider), Campaigns & Companions is edited by Alex de Campi (Madi) and beautifully illustrated by Calum Alexander Watt (The Rise of Skywalker). 

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Roleplaying Games I Might Someday Try 5: Capitalites by Samuel Mui

19 Jul, 2021


To quote from the Kickstarter:

Capitalites is a slice-of-life, coming-of-age tabletop roleplaying game about young adults living in the big city as they try to find out who they are and get their shit together. Explore real-world themes like ambition, sex, family, and friendships and the sacrifices you make in order to grow up as you navigate an excitingly mundane world of gentrified hipster cafes, skyscraper office blocks, penthouse parties, and late-night drinks at the local bar-and-bistro. 

Capitalites is part of the Our Shores: An RPGSEA Compilation Kickstarter project. I’m astonishingly badly read in non-North American RPGs and this could be an interesting introduction to South East Asian roleplaying games. Granted, thrilling adventures in retirement complex selection might be a more age-appropriate choice1 but thanks to innumerably decades invested in roleplaying an assortment of characters, I am sure I can carry off playing a young adult. Despite the firecracker noises from my joints every time I move. 

1: Traveller is on my list of games I would like to play again some day. 

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Books Received, July 10 — July 16

17 Jul, 2021


The Gatekeeper’s Staff by Antoine Bandele

TJ Young has been surrounded by magic his entire life, yet he has never tapped into it… until now.

Fourteen-year-old TJ grew up normal in a secret community of gifted diviners in the heart of modern-day Los Angeles. His powerful sister was ordained to lead his people into a new age of prosperity, but her mysterious death in Nigeria threatens to destroy the very foundations of TJ’s world.

Desperate to pick up where his sister left off and uncover the secrets behind her questionable death, TJ commits himself to unlocking the magical heritage that has always eluded him. So he enrolls in Camp Olosa‑a remedial magic school for the divinely less-than-gifted in the humid swamps of New Orleans.

But little does he know, TJ is destined to cross paths with powerful spirits of old thought lost to time: the orishas.

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Roleplaying Games I Might Someday Try 4: Call of Cthulhu, 7th Edition by Paul Fricker and Mike Mason

12 Jul, 2021


Call of Cthulhu is (of course) Chaosium’s horror role-playing game, based on H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Sandy Petersen’s first edition was published 40 years ago when the field was still young. CoC is very likely Chaosium’s most successful RPG, one of few games of its vintage that has not to my knowledge suffered long periods when it was either out of print or at least hard to find. Quite remarkable, particularly given the usual limited lifespans of licensed products.

I’ve played 2nd and 5th editions (which is to say, the post-Lynn Willis versions). The differences between those editions did not seem so dramatic at the time. 7th on the other hand has somehow become two massive tomes, and a cursory examination indicates some major differences: stats appear to have become much larger, for example, I’m curious how these differences work out in play. Whether that curiosity will overcome my current inability to get through long volumes is a detail to be resolved at a later time. 

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Books Received, July 3 — July 9

10 Jul, 2021


Destroyer of Light by Jennifer Marie Brissett

The Matrix meets an Afro-futuristic retelling of Persephone set in a science fiction underworld of aliens, refugees, and genetic engineering in Jennifer Marie Brissett’s Destroyer of Light.

Having destroyed Earth, the alien conquerors resettle the remains of humanity on the planet of Eleusis. In the three habitable areas of the planet – Day, Dusk, and Night – the haves and have nots, criminals and dissidents, and former alien conquerors irrevocably bind three stories:*A violent warlord abducts a young girl from the agrarian outskirts of Dusk leaving her mother searching and grieving.*Genetically modified twin brothers desperately search for the lost son of a human/alien couple in a criminal underground trafficking children for unknown purposes. A young woman with inhuman powers rises through the insurgent ranks of soldiers in the borderlands of Night.Their stories skate across years, building to a single confrontation when the fate of all — human and alien — balances upon a knife’s‑edge.

Warning: This book is designed for audiences 18+ due to scenes of physical and sexual violence, and themes that some may find disturbing. 

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Roleplaying Games I Might Someday Try 3: Atomic Robo by Brian Clevinger, Mike Olson, and Scott Wegener

5 Jul, 2021


This is the roleplaying game of Action Science! Which is like Science! but with added Action! Based on Brian Clevinger and artist Scott Wegener’s Atomic Robo comic book, whose title character is an autonomous robot created by Nikola Tesla. If the game is true to the comic, adventures should involved misguided science, zany schemes, snappy banter, explosions, and the triumph of good over evil. Or at least over Dr. Dinosaur.

This would be an example of the source material winning out over the game mechanics. I’m just not a big Fate fan, perhaps because my tastes crystalized decades before Fate grew out of Fudge. I am quite fond of Atomic Robo, though, and maybe that’s enough. 

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Books Received: June 26 — July 2

3 Jul, 2021


Even Greater Mistakes by Charlie Jane Anders

In her short story collection, Even Greater Mistakes, Charlie Jane Anders upends genre cliches and revitalizes classic tropes with heartfelt and pants-wettingly funny social commentary. The woman who can see all possible futures is dating the man who can see the one and only foreordained future.A wildly popular slapstick filmmaker is drawn, against his better judgment, into working with a fascist militia, against a background of social collapse. Two friends must embark on an Epic Quest To Capture The Weapon That Threatens The Galaxy, or else they’ll never achieve their dream of opening a restaurant. The stories in this collection, by their very outrageousness, achieve a heightened realism unlike any other. Anders once again proves she is one of the strongest voices in modern science fiction, the writer called by Andrew Sean Greer, this generation’s Le Guin.”

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June 2021 in Review

30 Jun, 2021


June 2021

22 works reviewed. 12 by women (55%), 10 by men (45%), 0 by non-binary
authors (0%), 0 by authors whose gender is unknown (0%), and 8 works
by POC (36%)

Year to Date

128 works reviewed. 69.5 by women (54%), 52.5 by men (41%), 3 by
non-binary authors (2%), 3 by authors whose gender is unknown (2%), and
52 works by POC (41%)

Grand Total to Date

1876 works reviewed. 1052 by women (56%), 782 by men (42%), 24 by
non-binary authors (1%), 18 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), and 531.75 (28%) by POC (28%).

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Books Received: A Large Box Filled Mostly But Not Entirely By Tesseracts Anthologies

30 Jun, 2021

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Tesseracts edited by Judith Merril

The FIRST volume of the ongoing series…

Each year we choose a team of editors from among the best of Canada’s writers, publishers and critics to select innovative and futuristic fiction and poetry from the leaders and emerging voices in Canadian speculative fiction. This is the anthology that started it all!

Tesseracts features fiction by Hugo and Nebula award winning authors Spider Robinson and William Gibson, as well as Élisabeth Vonarburg, Rhea Rose, Robert Zend, Michael G. Coney, Robert Priest, Candas Jane Dorsey, Eileen Kernaghan, Christopher Dewdney, Daniel Sernine, D. M. Price,Terence M. Green, Dorothy Corbett Gentleman, Gerry Truscott, Benjamin Freedman, Phyllis Gotlieb, Gary Eikenberry, Marc Sevigny, Robert John Colombo, Marian Engel, D. M. Price, Margaret McBride, A. K. Dewdney, Susan Swan, Lesley Choyce, Robert Sward, and David Kilpatrick.

About Judith Merril

The late Judith Merril is considered one of the most prolific authors and editors in the field of Science Fiction. Born in New York in 1923, she founded the Futurians, a group of SF writers and editors. Her first SF story, That Only a Mother,’ was published in 1948. Judith edited numerous SF anthologies including Dell’s Year’s Best SF from 1956 – 1967, and was the Books’ columnist for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from 1965 – 69. She helped to establish Toronto’s Rochdale College library (based largely on her own private collection) which is now known as The Merril Collection. Judith founded the speculative fiction writers group Hydra North in 1984, and was awarded two Canadian Science Fiction Lifetime Achievement Awards: for contributions to the field and for achievements in editing. She passed away September 12, 1997 from complications following an angiogram. She is sorely missed by her fans and fellow writers. 

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