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Here is a Black Tree sculpt from their remarkably extensive and comprehensive Doctor Who line. This was DW420, Professor Kettlewell, but I've repurposed him as a mathematical genius visiting Miskatonic from Howard University.
I love the hair.
Bonus points if you recognize the equations!
He looks like he cares for his abstruse and rarefied mathematical theorems, his coffee, and jaunty bow ties, and that's about it. The shabby suit and body language really help sell the character. Brainstein here is one of my favorites.
So as some of you may know I'm making a diorama! This will be slow going for a while as I get the materials and then it should be full steam ahead. I've started by procuring another copy of the "telephone box" since I don't really like the first one I did a few years ago. It's not awful but not up to my standard for a Christmas present.
So I hear Paizo's got this new game, Starfinder, up and coming. And I am not sure what to think.
Pathfinder filled a need; I tried 4th Edition D&D, and did not much care for the radical changes after several years of 3.5. Pathfinder was just an extension of the d20 system, and worked well as a generic fantasy game ... that, as splatbook after splatbook and so forth, grew steadily less generic. Still a fine game, although it begins to show signs of splatcreak*, as the sheer amount of rules pile up.
Makes sense they'd want to expand their base of gaming; a one-game company is vulnerable to changes in the market, and D&D has finally gotten its head on straight. Time to seek out new life and civilizations... if only to stay competitive.
But I dunno.
First science fiction RPG I ever played was Traveller, which did an amazing job of distilling the basics down to three little booklets in a box, which seems to be how things were done, then. We had combat, we had spaceships, we had computers, find a ship, find a crew, find a job, keep flying. It worked. (I will not discuss Gamma World or Metamorphosis Alpha; while I enjoyed 'em, these were more postapocalyptic and less space opera, and this is hard enough to keep on track as it is).
Another game, Space Opera, was interesting and fun, although waaaay too in love with its rulesset; as I recall, you could burn a whole gaming session just creating a character. Which I guess was a little better than Traveller, where you could accidentally get killed before your character entered PLAY, but Space Opera's extra crunchy rules were a bit much, even for the times.
I enjoyed Star Frontiers, once TSR finally got off their duffs and designed a neat space opera setting, although I took it kinda personally that they did not include a starship design or purchase system, or for that matter much of any information about space travel other than "buy a ticket." What, Traveller could do it, but you can't? They were up front enough, though, about the fact that they'd be out with a separate boxed set that would include the starship rules... eventually. And they did.
Aaaand that's where we take a sharp left, because Star Frontiers was the last generic science fiction space opera I ever played.
FASA quickly came out with a licensed Star Trek game, set during the TOS era, because that's all we had back then; Next Generation was still years away. Still remember the one adventure we played as Klingon officers, who wound up blowing up the ship due to a complex web of backstabbery... but I digress. Not long after that, they also came out with a licensed Doctor Who game, which preoccupied us for a while, as there were a hell of a lot of VHS tapes to track down to keep up with the setting! It did have the advantage of spreading across all TIME, as well as space... although we took a break when West End Games's Star Wars came out, because to a nerd-child of the seventies, the history of mankind breaks down into pre-SW and post-SW. After all, you never saw any Planet Of The Apes RPGs, did you? Hell, I still have a copy of Leading Edge's Aliens RPG around here somewhere; it was fun, albeit rather sketchy, as it was based entirely on the two movies in the Alien franchise as of 1988... had plenty of information about Weyland-Yutani, the Space Marines, the Aliens... and nearly nothing else...
Which brings us to now. As I said above, Pathfinder filled a need.
But there are a great many licensed science fiction games now. Firefly is still going strong. A new Star Wars game still circulates, albeit unsupported due to licensing. A new Star Trek game is in the works, assuming its maker ever gets it out of playtesting, and the current Doctor Who game still seems to be selling.
Is there a place now for a generic science fiction setting? Will it appeal to people who've never tried Pathfinder? Or does the current market favor established licensed science fiction settings where one can watch a movie or three and get an idea INSTANTLY about the world and how it works?
Opinions? Ideas? Rants?
In order to celebrate the 100th anniversary of animation in Japan the National Film Center has opened a site that will let you view some of the really old animation from the 20s, 30s, and 40s. Some are old enough to be completely silent while others do have sound. In either case, all of the one's I've taken a look at have the option to toggle English subtitles so you can read along. If you don't read Japanese I recommend using Chrome and activating the page translation feature to navigate.
Enjoy reliving the golden era of animation.
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