A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘roleplaying games

[NEWS] Five sci-fi links: Gargoyles, D&D, Richard K Morgan, superheroes, time dilation

  • This oral history of Gargoyles, one of the best children’s animated series of the 1990s or any other decade, must be read. Syfy has it.
  • Geekwire looks at the real efforts of Dungeons & Dragons to be inclusive of players and characters of all sorts of backgrounds.
  • Wired interviews Richard K Morgan, coming out with a new book on Mars colonization, about his thoughts on colonizing the Red Planet.
  • NOW Toronto has a list of four superhero franchises that merit a revival.
  • James Nicoll at Tor has a non-obvious list of six novels (and one song!) that make use of time dilation as a plot element.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • The Buzz celebrates Esi Edugyan’s winning of the Giller Prize for the second time, for her amazing novel Washington Black.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the unusual rings of outer-system body Chariklo.
  • The Crux looks at the long history of unsuccessful planet-hunting at Barnard’s Star, concentrating on the disproved mid-20th century work of Peter Van De Kamp.
  • D-Brief notes evidence that Mars knew catastrophic floods that radically reshaped its surface.
  • Bruce Dorminey visits and explores Korea’s ancient Cheomseongdae Observatory.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog notes the death of long-time contributor Peter Kaufman.
  • L.M. Sacasas at The Frailest Thing considers the things–quiet, even–that modernity can undermine before transforming into a commodity.
  • Imageo notes that global warming has continued this American Thanksgiving.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the sour grapes of the Family Research Council at the success of the moving film about “gay conversion therapy”, Boy Erased.
  • JSTOR Daily links to a paper considering if the zeitgeist of the world is into major monuments.
  • Language Log considers a news report of “arsehole” geese in Australia. As a Canadian, all I can say is that geese are birds that know they are dinosaurs.
  • The LRB Blog reports from the scene of the recent unrecognized elections in the city of Donetsk, run by a pro-Russian regime.
  • The Map Room Blog reports on how Atlas Obscura is exhibiting some amazing maps produced in Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper noting how black teachers can help boost achievements among black students.
  • The New APPS Blog looks at how the political economy of our time combines with social media to atomize and fragment society.
  • Nicholas Lezard at the NYR Daily talks about his experience of anti-Semitism, as a non-Jew, in the United Kingdom.
  • Casey Dreier at the Planetary Society Blog suggests families would do better to talk about space at Thanksgiving than about politics, and shares a list of subjects.
  • Drew Rowsome talks about the frustrations and the entertainment involved with Bohemian Rhapsody.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that fifty thousand ethnic Kyrgyz are being held in the Xinjiang camps of China.
  • Arnold Zwicky shares some Thanksgiving holiday cartoons by Roz Chast.

[NEWS] Five sci-fi links: nearer stars, Sailor Moons, role-playing, queer SF, #Earpers

  • James Nicoll notes, writing at Tor, how modern science has made the nearby stars we know so much less plausible as hosts for Earth-like worlds in science fiction.
  • This long-form Kotaku article by Cecilia D’Anastasio seeking to uncover the much-rumoured American pilot for a live-action version of Sailor Moon is amazing.
  • While I admit to perhaps not being the best role-player, I agree entirely about the great creative potential of Dungeons & Dragons (and other role-playing games). NBC News made the case.
  • NOW Toronto celebrates the queer representation, and commercial viability, of Wynonna Earp and Killjoys.
  • This Vulture article examining how Wynonna Earp has developed such a helpful and nice fandom, substantially through intentional engineering by fans and showrunners alike, is fascinating. A model for the future?

[NEWS] Five sci-fi links: HAL 9000, Space Seed on VHS, baseball on DS9, Civilization, AIs doing D&D

  • How did the movie version of HAL 9000, from 2001, come about? And why does HAL sound so Canadian? The National Post reports.
  • The official Star Trek website explains how the release of the episode “Space Seed” on VHS helped change the videocassette market of the 1980s, here.
  • Deadspin explains how the central role played by the sport of baseball in Deep Space 9 underlined the ways in which that show was atypical Trek.
  • Rock Paper Shotgun examines how many long-run civilization-building games, like Civilization, do a poor job of depicting stagnation and decline, and what this failure says about us now.
  • The idea that the game that artificial intelligences need to learn to play is not chess but D&D–that games involving roleplaying are good tests for general intelligence–seems obvious to me. Aeon has it.

[NEWS] Four queer links: LGBTQ content in D&D, AIDS in art, Nica Noelle, beards in drag

Written by Randy McDonald

August 28, 2017 at 9:15 pm

[LINK] Some Friday links

There’s a few posts you might be interested in this evening.

  • 80 Beats’ Andrew Moseman makes the point that when sorting out carbon dioxide emissions by nation, the carbon dioxide emitted by a country (like China) that manufactures goods for another country might not only be the responsibility of the manufacturing nation.
  • Bad Astronomy maps the colours of different classes of stars onto the colour codes of HTML.
  • Centauri Dreams examines estimates about the number of habitable planets and the latest experimental proof of the theory of relativity.
  • Charlie Stross announces the publication fo the first edition of The Laundry, a roleplaying game setup based on his wonderful “Laundry Files” stories. (“Cthulhu and hackers and bureaucracy, oh my!”)
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on a research project examining the arsenic-laced sediments of Califonia’s Mono Lake to see if arsenic-using lifeforms which might have evolved entirely independently from our won life might exist.
  • Edward Lucas reports on Russia’s recent recognition that the Katyn massacre was committed by Soviets and its implications for Russia’s foreign policy.
  • Far Outliers blogs about the disdain that migrants from the Netherlands felt for the native Eurasians in the Dutch East Indies.
  • Geocurrents’ Martin Lewis points out that some maps–like ones which use the same colour to show central Mexico and marginal California in New Spain–can be very misleading and examines the autonomous Australian tax shelter island of Norfolk Island.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the happy news that Constance Mcmillen, the young teenager whose desire to bring her girlfriend to prom led the school board to cancel prom altogether, is fully supported by her parents. Family values.
  • Marginal Revolution points out that a country doesn’t have to be an export superpower to be like Germany, that it just has to run its economic responsibly (hints re: Greece et al).
  • Norman Geras writes about how ill-thoguht tactical alliance by Iran’s left with religious radicals in the days of the revolution led to the Islamic Republic’s horrors.
  • Spacing Toronto’s Sean Marshall writes about Bogotá’s surprisingly efficient system of public mass transit.
  • Window on Eurasia blogs about the case for dismantling Russia’s Soviet-era science cities and Belarusian citizenship in an East Slavic cultural space.

[LINK] “In D & D we trust”

3 Quarks Daily linked to a Los Angeles Times article by one Ed Park that mentions James Maliszewski. Maliszewski, a Torontonian gamer who’s a former denizen of Livejournal, Grognardia, has a blog that has gained some repute.

Though it’s nominally about “the history and traditions of the hobby of role-playing” — Dungeons & Dragons and its ilk — it’s also an invigorating meditation on aesthetics. Maliszewski is an adherent of the “old school” movement, which favors flexible, elegant gaming systems (the original D&D, circa 1974, a.k.a. OD&D, published in “little brown books”) to those that pile on so many supplementary rules and tables that they begin to feel restrictive rather than prescriptive.

How many rules — how many words — do you need to create a world?

The same question could be asked of literature. Indeed, a session of a role-playing game, or RPG, with its emphasis on character and absence of winning or losing, often resembles a story, collaboratively generated by the players. Reading Maliszewski’s lucid writing — on vintage RPGs, unearthed Gygaxia, the literary DNA of D&D, and contemporary system-philosophy brouhahas — is both a kick of nerdy nostalgia and a satisfying take on what it all means, even if you’re someone (like me) who hasn’t rolled a 12-sided die in ages.

Grognardia’s an interesting read, while Park goes on to cite some recent examples of roleplaying games in popular fiction. Go, read them.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 9, 2010 at 10:09 am

Protected: [WRITING] S’il vous plait, aidez-moi!

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Written by Randy McDonald

April 12, 2008 at 2:10 pm


In the past few days, I’ve seen at least a dozen posts in relation to the death of Gary Gygax, some mere notes, others fairly extended commemorations of the man and his work.

I wonder. What does it say of me, given the interests of my friends in person and online and my own inclinations, that I’d never heard mention of the man’s name before? (I’m certain that fact will surprise at least one person.)

Written by Randy McDonald

March 6, 2008 at 9:24 pm

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[LINK] “Gaming products for men who will never have sex that they didn’t pay for”

james_nicoll has a post up by that name which links to the very questionable role-playing game Hot Chicks 3.1: Naked Distress. Commentary at the website said that this game’s “usefulness will depend on your taste and the maturity of your gaming group.” There’s also an art book.

(There but for the grace of God …)

UPDATE (6:53 PM) : Not a role-playing game at all, cappadocious informs me in the comments, but an art book for RPGs.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 31, 2007 at 5:31 pm

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