MACE East 2016 Gaming Schedule PDF

The Link above is a direct link to the MACE East 2016 Gaming schedule.  Highlights include

Board/Card Games …

Bohnanza
Castle Panic
Cthulhu Realms
Conquer
Shadows of Brimstone
Star Wars: Imperial Assault
Ultimate Werewolf
Zombicide
Collectible/Trading Card Game …

Dragon Ball Z: Collectible Card Game
Magic The Gathering
Warhammer 40k: Conquest

Miniature Game…

Caveman/Mammoth Hunting
Doctor Who/Savage World BBC
HeroClix
Hordes
Star Wars: Armada
Warmachine

RPG..

Achtung! Cthlhu (Savage Worlds)
Battle for Oz (Savage Worlds)
Call of Cthulhu 7e
D&D Adventurers League (D&D 5e)
Fiasco
Kromore Role Playing
Mindjammer
Pathfinder Society
Savage Worlds Fantasy
Savage Worlds
Shadow of the Demon Lord
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire
The Dresden Files
The Last Parsec (Savage Worlds)

 

B-Movie Inspiration: Parallels (2015)

p11650192_p_v8_aaSometimes you run across a movie on NetFlix and you wonder if it could have been a show pilot.  I found one of these gems and it was called Parallels.  It sounded like a remake of Sliders with a little The Lost Room thrown in.  It is a movie that approaches a subject in sci-fi that is always challenging – alternate worlds.  Very few shows or movies do it right.  Comic books seem to do it pretty well, and now shows based on those comics are pulling it off.  The subject really deserves a series and not a single movie.  Parallels was meant to be a show, but was never picked up.  To recoup their losses it was released as a movie.

What is interesting about the show is that since they did not continue the story (and there is so much potential for it), I believe it could be a great RPG series of adventures.  This was a well made pilot but I think it was too ambitious.  Which is probably why it never got bought as a series.  And probably why Sliders ended up the way they did – awful.  Every world is different in some way or another which makes for endless possibilities.  There were certain axioms though that they characters had to abide by, that made for some very interesting possibilities.

We are first introduced to a three young characters – two are brother and sister and the other is a friend they grew up with.  They all have their scarred pasts – the brother is a cage fighter (Ronan Carver), the sister is a highly intelligent prodigy that missed her opportunity for college because of tragedy (Beatrix Carver) and the friend is a recently graduated lawyer (Harold) who happens to have been holding a torch for the sister since they were old enough to remember.  All three fulfilling three major roles in a party – the warrior, the skill user and the diplomat.

We find out the father of the siblings, named Alex, sent out messages to his kids calling them home and indicating it was important.  They arrive at home to find him missing as well as a long string of interesting and mysterious clues.  One clue is a futuristic looking ball that lights up when a button is pressed.  Other clues lead the Ronan and Beatrix to a mysterious abandoned building.  Along the way, they pick up their childhood friend Harold and their adventures begin.

Core to the plot is this mysterious building.  As they unwitting party discovers, it has the ability to travel from one reality to another.  While inside, they pick up a new companion, a mysterious woman named Polly who pops out of nowhere and seems to know more about the building then one should.  The building travels from one world to another every 36 hours, but only spatially and not temporally.  It is not a time machine or a TARDIS. It also never changes location – always the same city or relative location on the planet.  No one knows who built it.  All over the walls are notes about various Earths – which ones are dangerous, which ones are safe, etc.  Of course, no one is really sure what they mean because they do not know from what perspective they were written and they have no idea which Earth is which.  Unless the building has a pattern?  This was never really clarified but it sounds like it might have been if the series continued.

The movie has them travel to two worlds – one devastated by nuclear war and one that has about 20 years advancement of technology.  They are told that all they have to do is wait 36 hours and the building will move on to the next world.  That tells me they don’t really have to go anywhere, right?  Well, I suppose to survive, they have to find ways to eat, etc.  There is a ton of things to consider and they touch on a few of them brilliantly – the parallel selves of each of the main characters, how they pay for things in different worlds, and dealing with people they know but may not know them.

There is a lot of unanswered questions in this film that had my mind wandering.  You can tell there was a lot of story left untold, to be left to more episodes.  Unfortunately, like I said, it was probably too ambitious.  These questions left a lot of opportunity for story and anytime a RPG GM sees opportunity for story, he sees adventure

At some point, they are told that the building is from something called the Core World – a place of highly advanced humans.  You later find out that Alex and their dead mother are from there or at least it is implied.  Are these the ultimate humans?  Core humans?  Is there something special about them?  Are they immortal?  Do they have super powers?

Also along the way, when they were able, the siblings visited the equivalent of their home in each world to find more clues left behind by their dad.  This was also an interesting aspect.  An RPG GM in this situation would use this to create encounters for the adventurers and gave them a reason to leave the building.  But what is the likelihood a parallel world would have the same street plan as the one they are from?  And the same houses were built on those streets?  How would they know?  Some sort of plot device or convention would have to be established.

At the very end, you find out there are 3 different versions of Polly living in the building.  Why?  Are they from 3 different realities or just triplets? Are they Core Worlders?  What is there agenda?  They did not seem to have any kind of interest in anything related to the main characters however, when their father came on to the scene at the end, she seemed to fear him.

If you watch the credits, there are several potential worlds they never explored.  A world where the water levels were high enough to make whatever city they were in seem like Venice, Italy and another one that had the water levels much higher (global warming world?).  A world where everything else around it is ancient ruins, as if the ancient Romans built a city on that location but that was the last civilization to exist on the planet.  Also there was a world where the city is actively engaged in some kind of war, with air raid spotlights and AA guns firing around it.

I tried running a game where the players were travelling from one parallel universe to another.  I can tell you from that experience it is a lot of work for a GM.  You are basically creating a whole new setting each trip they make.  It might be a good idea to not only have the whole thoroughly fleshed out, but also contain the scope the players will see so that you don’t have to have it so thoroughly fleshed out.  I compounded the work I needed to do by attempting it in a space opera setting – Babylon 5 setting, to be exact.  I found it overwhelmingly difficult and too much work.

For a RPG campaign, the GM should map put each parallel universe beforehand, or at least the ones that are important to the story arche.  More will come along or pop up as you play, I am sure but at least in this way, the harder work is done.  Then decide what aspects you want the players to encounter while at the same time what aspects you want in the background.  In a world where the Axis powers won World War II, do they encounter the Nippon Empire or the Nazis?  One or the other will be in the background, most likely.

It is a challenge to use alternate realities in an RPG setting but it can be really fun if done right.  Obviously, the TV execs decision to not buy into this show tells you that it risky business in the world of TV, as well.  But it can be so rewarding, I think.  I challenge you as a fellow RPG GM to give it a try.

B-Movie Inspiration: Narcopolis (2015)

narcopolis

I came across another movie while browsing my streaming options that intrigued me by the movie poster and the name.  Not knowing anything about it other than it was sci-fi, I decided to give it a try. Sometimes I will start a movie like this and stop it after the first 5 minutes while other times the movie will grab me and I will watch it to the end.

Narcopolis starts out a little weird but eventually starts to make sense as time goes on.  Eventually you find out that it involves time travel and that’s why it’s confusing.  If you know it involves time travel, it might make more sense but I went in blind.  Narcopolis is a reference to a near future world where all drugs are legalized in the UK.  It stars Elliot Cowan, Jonathan Pryce, Harry Lloyd, and James Callis (of new Battlestar Galactica fame).  Cowan plays Frank Grieves,  a cop that gets drawn into a weird case that involves a mysterious corpse with strange symptoms.  The corpse arrived in Grieves’ purview via the opening scene which takes place 20 years later.

The movie turns into a long and somewhat brooding intrigue-filled chase scene as Grieves digs deeper into a plot that involves the largest supplier of legal drugs in the UK and some time jumping rebels.  These time jumpers are using some kind of injection into their neck that enables them to travel through time.  That really does not sound all that precise but whatever works.  I think that gets into the whole premise of the movie.

The movie ends with a surprise ending.  I will leave that to the reader to find out about.  Overall, the movie as a pleasant surprise.  There were some slow moments that I had to fast forward to but it kept me wondering to the end.  I had to find out what was going to happen in the end.

But at the center of the movie was sort of a Timothy Leary-esque approach to drugs and the human brain.  Very subtly, the premise basically says that opening the mind through drugs, especially the designer drugs this big company was pushing out, can open the potential of the mind.  So much so, that one can access the power to travel through time, with the right mix of narcotics.

One of the oldest tropes of sci-fi movies like this is that “we only use 10% of our brain” and in saying that, it poses a question of what if we used all 100% of it.  The movie (and subsequent TV series) Limitless dealt with this in a much more subtle way.  So in an RPG, what does this mean?  Can a drug be used to give players temporary abilities?  Imagine a super hero game where the players are normals that gain their abilities through drugs.  Or a transhuman sci-fi game where abilities begin to rise in a transhuman colony because of drugs given to them to survive the harshness of their world.  It could be a very cool gimmick for a one shot.  It also can be an interesting campaign, chasing down the manufacturers of these drugs and having to take them just to fend off their thugs along the way.

MACE East 2016: Warmachine/Hordes Events

The Warmachine and Hordes (Privateer Press) events for MACE East 2016 will include the following:

January 8th through 10th 

All Weekend long. Iron Arena – Play games to earn points. Cash those points in for prizes.

January 8th- 5pm – finish

Hardcore Tournament- 1  50 point list, timed turns, no painting restrictions. Prize support for executioner, mage hunter and vanquisher.

January 9th – 10am-finish

Battle for the Engine Steamroller – 50 point lists, 2 list required and deathclock. Steamroller pins and first place gets a battle engine of their choice

January 9th – 10pm – finish

Highlander – each player brings 1 warcaster/warlock and 1 non-character, non-colossal warjack/warbeast and compete in a free for all with all of you competitors until only one remains.

January 10th – 10am – finish

Spell Draft – Bring 1  35pt list and draft the spells that you can use during the event.

About Warmachine

WARMACHINE players take on the role of warcasters as they lead their titanic forces into battle. Warcasters possess significant martial prowess of their own as well as having hardened warriors and magical spells to bring to bear. Players collect, assemble, and paint fantastically detailed models representing the varied warriors, machines, and creatures in their armies. WARMACHINE is fully compatible with its feral twin, the monstrous miniatures combat game of HORDES.

About Hordes

HORDES players take on the role of warlocks as they lead their wild forces into battle. Warlocks are formidable combatants in their own right, and their armies make use of both hardened and brutal warriors and packs of savage warbeasts, allowing them to contend on equal footing with the greatest armies of the Iron Kingdoms. Players collect, assemble, and paint fantastically detailed models representing the varied warriors, minions, and beasts in their hordes. HORDES is the feral twin of the steam-powered combat game of WARMACHINE, and the two are fully compatible.

See more about Privateer Press here.

More about the Carolina Gunbunnies here

 

B-Movie Inspiration: Harbinger Down (2015)

Harbinger Down (2015)

I am a sucker for a movie inspired by Alien or The Thing.  Show a sci-fi monster movie and I am there.   I ran across this movie while browsing Netflix, not know anything about it.  The blurb interested me so I started it.  I found out later that this film was Kickstarted by a team that promised a movie with all-practical effects, with as little CGI as possible.  That is what drove me to watch it all the way through.  I am not sure I would have if I hadn’t found that information.

The movie starts out with a short background scene set in the 1980s. A Soviet space capsule is tumbling into Earth’s atmosphere with one cosmonaut on board.   He tried to gain control of the capsule but ultimately fails and the capsule is seen plummeting through the atmosphere partially burning up as it falls somewhere in a frozen tundra.

Cut to a team of scientist preparing to go on some kind of mission.  We find out later that they are studying connections between whale behavior and climate change somewhere near Alaska.  To keep things on the cheap, they are using a crabbing boat called the Harbinger captained by Graff (Lance Henricksen), who happens to be the grandfather of one of the scientists, Sadie.  We are introduced to the rest of the crew, which includes several distinct and interesting personalities, including the gruff Inuit, loud and funny African American, big and tall guy, Russian semi-sexy girl that might have a testosterone imbalance, and the obligatory handsome guy that has an interest in the granddaughter.

We meet the scientists as they set up their “complex equipment.” There are basically three – Sadie, the asshole lead from the university, and the another young student helping with the study.  The ship’s crew crab by night, and the scientists perform their study during the day.  One evening while looking over their data, Sadie spots something that leads to a very interesting discovery – the crashed remains of the Russian capsule.

Long story short, there is something else on board the capsule, which is surprisingly determined to be a moon lander.  They find the frozen remains of the pilot, which is reasonably intact and not burned.  However, it is infected with some kind of parasite and it eventually begins to infect the crew and take over the ship.  There is also a twist.  As it turns out, the Russian crew woman is more than just a fisherman – she’s a spy who knew they would come across the capsule somehow.  She set up bombs on the ship to destroy the creature that has no infested the whole ship and plans to escape by a nearby Russian sub she has been in contact with.  Synyster Russians!

I can’t write about this movie without going into the creative idea behind the creature.  It is like cross between The Thing  and Alien, more the former than the latter.  But it is a human creation.  Apparently in the 80s, the Russians were working on ways to create better cosmonauts through genetic and bio engineering, using DNA from various obscure insects – primarily a creature called a Tardigrades (also known as water bears or moss piglets). However, the radiation of space travel and its long imprisonment in ocean ice caused severe mutations.  This results in a ooze that liquefies the host and reshape into however it feels like, based on the DNA is has absorbed.  If one gets splashed by the goo in anyway, he or she become infected by the parasite, which begins to liquify their flesh and join it with the rest of the goo on the ship. This creature can reform into all kinds of wicked and horrific creature combinations that practical effects can create.

While investigating this creature with the science equipment, there is a great reveal scene that includes these lines:

Ronelle – “It is showing the DNA of more than one species.”

Big G – “This is no good”

Sadie – “Seawater carries the DNA of everything that lives and dies in it, from bacteria on up…”

Ronelle – “These things have been basking in a DNA soup for who knows how long.”

Sadie – “They’ve absorbed the DNA of hundreds of species.”

They go on to say that the mutated tardigrades can liquify and replicate organs, blood  and tissue as well as recode DNA!  Very cool concept!

It gradually absorbs just about every crew member, as well as two tons of crabs the ship was carrying, creating some great creature moments on screen.  Some are very obviously homages to scenes from Alien or The Thing.  The movie proceeds as one would expect with a final survivor escaping death as the ship is destroyed and the creature rendered into a non-threatening state (for lack of a better description) … until next sequel.

This is an RPG adventure one shot waiting to happen.  In fact, I am writing something right now that will most definitely be heavily influenced by this.  Here are the potential plots and aspects of the movie I liked.

Cold War connection – Any connection to the Cold War or either World War can draw me in.  The aspect of the Moon lander really intrigues me and adds some good depth to the story. The Soviets secretly landed on the Moon?  Are there other cosmonauts with this parasite on the moon?  Did the establish a base?  Was it really the radiation that mutated it or something else on the moon?

Genetic Engineering of Obscure Creatures – Science is awesome! The things they are messing around with today can be a great inspiration for stories.  Just read into the science behind the tardigrade, and you will find what inspired this movie in part.  It takes a little work but digging into real life science theories can bring about great adventure.

Isolation – I have written about this before but I live that it is isolated in the cold arctic (a lot The Thing) onboard a crabbing ship (a la Alien).  You can not get more isolated than that.  A good one shot can take place in such isolation if designed well.

 

 

MACE East 2016 Pathfinder Society schedule up!

MACE East 2016 is once again hosting a multi-table Pathfinder Society schedule.  Adventures this year include:

PF Module: Doom Comes to Dustpawn
PFS 3-04: The Kortos Envoy
PFS 3-26: Portal of the Sacred Rune
PFS 4-05: The Sanos Abduction
PFS 4-13: Fortress of the Nail
PFS 4-17: Tower of the Ironwood Watch
PFS 4-19: The Night March of Kalkamedes
PFS 5-09: The Traitor`s Lodge
PFS 5-11: Library of the Lion
PFS 5-21: The Merchant`s Wake
PFS 6-05 Slave Ships of Absalom
PFS 6-10: The Wounded Wisp
PFS 6-98: Serpents Rise
PFS 6–22: Out of Anarchy
PFS 6–23: The Darkest Abduction
PFS 6–99: True Dragons of Absalom
PFS 7-01: Between the Lines
PFS 7-03: The Bronze House Reprisal
PFS 7–04: The Ironbound Schism
PFS 7–05: School of Spirits
PFS 7–07: Trouble in Tamran
PFS 7–10: The Consortium Compact
PFS 7–11: Ancients’ Anguish

The schedule is currently up on OGRe.   GMs get in free by running two 5-hour slots as well as early preference to what they want to play before gaming registration opens.

Contact if you interested in running games.

About Pathfinder Society

Pathfinder Society Organized Play is a worldwide fantasy roleplaying campaign that puts YOU in the role of an agent of the Pathfinder Society, a legendary league of explorers, archaeologists, and adventurers dedicated to discovering and chronicling the greatest mysteries and wonders of an ancient world beset by magic and evil.

The campaign’s home base is sprawling Absalom, the so-called City at the Center of the World, that stands astride the great Inner Sea on the mountain-capped Isle of Kortos. A Pathfinder’s adventures explore the dark alleys and political intrigue of Absalom between far-flung travels to the most interesting and exotic locales in the world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

In Pathfinder Society Organized Play, you play a member of the Pathfinder Society, seeking fortune and glory all over the face of Golarion. At the same time, your character works for one of the competing factions, all with their own motivations and secret agendas.

Play is organized into Seasons, throughout which the actions and achievements of you and your fellow Pathfinders create an ongoing storyline. Each season consists of at least 28 Pathfinder Society scenarios (short, 4-hour adventures) set in a variety of exotic locations across Golarion.

 

MACE East: Memory Lane Comics, Heroclix & Dice Masters

MACE East is proud to work with Memory Lane Comics in hosting two tournaments:

WizKidsHeroClixLogo

Heroclix Tournament, Saturday afternoon

dicemasters

Dice Masters Tournament, Saturday Night

About Heroclix

HeroClix is a collectible miniatures game that uses the Clix system that centers on the world of superhero comic books, especially the Marvel and DC Comics universes. Players construct teams of comic book heroes, villains, or characters from various video games series such as Street Fighter, Gears of War, and Halo and engage in a turn-by-turn battle on grid maps based on various storyline locations. The Game was originally designed and produced by WizKids, but was discontinued in November 2008 when WizKids owner Topps shut down their HeroClix line. In September 2009, collectible toy producer National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) purchased some of the WizKids’ intellectual property from Topps, including the HeroClix rights and then soon after began to produce and sell new HeroClix series.

About Dice Masters

Dice Masters® is a smash-hit cross-brand offering utilizing WizKids’ proprietary Dice Building Game platform where players collect and assemble their “team” of character dice and battle in head-to-head game play. As with Quarriors, the game that kicked off Dice Building Games, Michael Elliott and Eric M. Lang are leading the design work for what will certainly be on most people’s watch list.

MACE East: D&D Adventurer’s League Schedule

The D&D Adventurer League Schedule is posted.  Click OGRe above to see the schedule.  The schedule includes the following scenarios…

DDEX02-03 The Drowned Tower
DDEX02-04 Mayhem in the Earthspur Mines
DDEX02-05 Flames of Kythorn
DDEX02-06 Breath of the Yellow Rose
DDEX02-07 Bounty in the Bog
DDEX02-08 Foulness Beneath Mulmaster
DDEX02-10 Cloaks and Shadows
DDEX02-14 The Sword of Selfaril
DDEX02-15 Black Heart of Vengeance
DDEX02-16 Boltsmelter’s Book
DDEX03-01 Harried in Hillsfar
DDEX03-02 Shackles of Blood
DDEX03-03 The Occupation of Szith Morcane
DDEX03-05 Bane of the Tradeways
DDEX03-06 No Foolish Matter
DDEX03-08 The Malady of Elventree
DDEX03-09 The Waydown
DDEX03-10 Quelling the Horde
DDEX03-11 The Quest for Sporedome

About D&D Adventurers League

The D&D Adventurers League is an ongoing official organized play campaign for Dungeons & Dragons. It uses the fifth edition of the Dungeons & Dragons rules, and features the Forgotten Realms setting. You can play D&D Adventurers League games at any place that features adventures bearing the D&D Adventurers League logo. You can create a character and bring that character to games anywhere D&D Adventurers League is supported.

Most D&D Adventurers League games are public, in-person play events. Typical venues for these events are game and hobby stores, conventions, and public-accessible game day events.

See more about the D&D Adventurers League