Monday, February 27, 2012

Gateway to FATE

As a fan of the pulp genre, I was quite aware of the Spirit of the Century RPG when it came out. As awesome as it seemed, I've avoided that game. It was the FATE system that freaked me out. I hadn't played, read or owned any games like that so I hand-waverly dismissed it.

FATE is a variant version of the 1990's FUDGE RPG and has since powered some very highly regarded and successful RPGs, such as the Dresden Files RPG. FATE is currently in it's 3rd edition. This is one of those games that has special dice. More special than the funny polyhedrons. Just d6 with two faces marked with a +, two faces marked with -, and two faces left blank. The thing about FATE that was so different to me was there aren't the standard set of attributes that define a character's abilities. This game system is much more story driven, so the things that define a character are their attributes. There are a lot of meta-gaming aspects to this system. Also some very loose free-form aspects. (puns not originally intended, but then I decided to go for it!).

So why did I shy away from it? FATE is completely thinking outside the box compared to most other games.  Kurt Wiegel's fantastic reviews made me even more nervous about how the game works. As a traditional gamer, I wasn't ready for something so out of the norm. I can see as someone who wasn't into gaming or new to it, this could be seen as exciting.

See for yourself what he says:

So last year I started seeing the very attractive cover (attractive to me, hit all the right espionage buttons of style) of a new game called Agents of S.W.I.N.G. Alas, as it was a powered-by-FATE game, I dismissed it. Oh my, we've been here before! Another FATE game in one of my very favorite genres. That's fine.

Then suddenly a new suppliment appears for Agents of S.W.I.N.G.- Gosh, Spies! Come on! Its as if James Desborough knows I've been trying to find the perfect game setting for gaming with my teenage step-daughter!
Gosh, Spies! is 120 pages of information for your Agents of SWING games, expanding the scope of the game into the realms of Saturday Morning Adventure cartoons with a particular emphasis on girl’s adventures.
The book has information and ideas on running SWING games for children and particularly for girls. While the book itself is not necessarily for kids and younger teens, it should help you create and run games for them.
More generally Gosh, Spies! contains rules for creating child characters, some new child/teen oriented stunts, background for two boarding schools, information on the teen subcultures of the 60s and 70s and an introductory, Saturday Morning style adventure called ‘Field Trip’
So I broke down and ordered the paperback of Agents of S.W.I.N.G. from Lulu and plan on picking up the other supplements soon. Especially Gosh, Spies! What won me over was basically reading this entire thread at over the weekend. Somewhere around page 6 or 7 I went and ordered my copy.  In the meantime I'm reading up all I can about FATE 3.0. I've been really enjoying the free PDF of 2.0 and looking at the SRD when I can.

Looking back, I know now that FATE was inevitable for me. And Agents of S.W.I.N.G serves as my gateway.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Strange Tales 138

Continuing... SHIELD finds the Hydra missile base seconds too late to stop the Betatron Bomb rocket, but they blow up the launch dock anyway.

The daughter of Imperial Hydra condemns him for ordering the bomb into orbit. He orders her out, but does not punish or execute her.

Next Imperial Hydra alerts the Hydra Chiefs of Staff to receive final instructions. We see the 10 departments around a giant wheel with an animal logo depicting the animal designated to that department.

  • Naval Action - Sea Dragon
  • Administration - Mole
  • Reconnaissance - Leopard
  • Heavy Weapons - Rhino
  • Air Action - Falcon
  • Supply - Camel
  • Engineers - Beaver
  • Assassins - Tiger
  • Planning Staff - Owl
  • Diplomacy - Fox
With this he summons the Fox department to commence Operation Doomsday!

Back with SHIELD Tony Stark is about to show Fury a new weapon as a team of Hydra Tiger assassins try to take out Stark. Fury stops them while relying on his newly issued bullet proof suit (which they introduced in the last issue). There's too many of them and Fury goes down, captured. Stark is left in his invincible cubicle or something as their Rhino tank smashes in and then shoots them off in an escape rocket with Fury in tow.

The next scene is a board meeting for Imperial Industries International. We have Mr. Farrington pushing some members to vote the way he desired when suddenly the lights go out. Farrington recognizes this as the signal that Nick Fury has been captured so he quickly wraps up the meeting. He asks one of the board members, Brown, to stay behind and simply asks Brown to report any overheard rumors, dismisses him and then opens a secret panel after Brown leaves. 

He dons his Hydra costume and goes down to meet Fury, his new prisoner. Imperial Hydra starts to get ready to interrogate Fury when another Hydra goon reports that it is exactly 2 o'clock. At that very moment two Hydra Fox agents are giving the President of the US an ultimatum. 

And that's where we end.

I can see the influences on Hama's G.I. Joe comic more than ever here. It's almost as if this issue was the blueprint for Cobra. Good stuff.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

G.I. Joe RPG

There has never been an official G.I. Joe RPG. Which is a real shame and a missed opportunity since d20 and G.I. Joe are both owned by Hasbro. Fan, Jay Libby went off and created his own unofficial G.I. Joe RPG that uses the logo and the characters. This is a fan-made effort and it appears to be a pretty good one. The setting is obviously the comics and the cartoon and now the film/s. He based the mechanics on the Fuzion system, which I know very little about.

The old TSR Marvel Superhero game system was used for another homemade G.I. Joe game. The system is now available and used as a free sort-of generic action adventure game system called FASRIP (which is an acronym from the first letter of each of a character's attributes). Check out the work this guy has put into his FASRIP G.I. Joe RPG here on Technohol 13.

The other two significant RPGs are not exactly G.I. Joe, but it's pretty obvious that G.I. Joe served as the main inspiration for each of them. I do not intend to review the systems. They're are varying game systems here. I'm looking at the setting fluff.

Strike Force 7 is available for Savage Worlds, d20 and RuneQuest. I've only seen the Savage Worlds version I suspect the setting material is nearly all the same. It's written by Caias Ward and Hyrum Savage and published by Super Genius Games. More info here.

The Strike Force 7 back story makes for a pretty good read and is extensive going into the various government intelligence departments from WWII through the Vietnam war leading up to the founding of the Strike Force 7 and how it separated itself from government funding and ties. There is a science fiction tangent in the back story that involves government operatives with mental powers and an explanation to what the Men in Black really is. It's fantastic, but not too far fetched. Especially compared to some of the things in G.I. Joe.

Where the main protagonist in Joe is COBRA, here we have Skorpion. The rise of this terror organization is much like Cobra Commander's- fanatical and extreme, but some valid opinions- Skorpion lead by Pharaoh was very similar. One interesting thing, while the events of 9/11/2001 were instrumental in the final stages of the Strike Force 7 manifestation, Pharaoh disapproved of the Twin Towers attack as well.

This is new setting on it's own. It definitely is not a replica or parody of G.I. Joe. There are obvious parallels. I like it. Strike Force 7 is a pretty serious take on a G.I. Joe-like setting.

Crafty Games' Real American is G.I. Joe with the names just barely changed. This came off as a parody to me. is Headquarters for Eminent Risk Oversight. Versus their enemy, NME (National Military Exports). Destro's M.A.R.S. becomes the Morrigna Corporation. The Arishikage Clan here is the Shirobikou Ninja Clan, and Zartan's Dreadnoks are The Wreckers. It's all here. Some of the back story, while entertaining, is just kind of stupid. For example, in a sidebar in 1984 the timeline credits Kenny G and Michael Bolton for inadvertently saving America from N.M.E's mind control lasers inducing nation-wide violence, or among several crisis in the '80s- big hair bands were the doing of N.M.E. Here's Crafty's page.

I'd choose the Spycraft 2.0 system over the d20 or d20 Modern system for Strike Force 7. But I think the setting is a little too much of a joke.

Real American review starts at about 3:00 minutes in...

Another G.I. Joe inspired game for Savage Worlds has been brought to my attention that deserves mention. G.E.T. Into Action! by Daring Entertainment (thank you, Sean [check out his Wine and Savages blog]). Here's the blurb:
When the organization known as STORM announced a New World Order under their tyrannical rule, conventional military proved unable to oppose them.  Determined to safeguard the world, the United Nations formed a covert team to counter the terrorist organization.  Wherever STORM appears, the men and women of Global Elite Tactical sound the Battle Cry and G.E.T. Into Action!
G.E.T. Into Action! is a new ongoing adventure series from Daring Entertainment.  Inside the pilot episode you'll find background information on Global Elite Tactical and STORM, equipment and personnel information, new Edges, Hindrances, and Setting Rules, and guidelines for running a G.E.T. Into Action! campaign set in either the non-lethal 1980's cartoon method, the 1980's comic book method, or a style and tone similar to the modern day reboots of the 1980's cartoons.
Included is also a full-length adventure, the pilot episode: The Rising Storm!  When STORM agents kidnap Dr. Jennifer Kenson, Global Elite Tactical quickly realizes it's to get their hands on the experimental BIND technology.  A new interface that allows pilots to control any vehicle with the speed of thought.  Assigned to infiltrate Mexico to retrieve the Dr., can the team rescue her while avoiding an international incident and facing the power of STORM?
Action, Adventure, and Drama await you!  It's time to strap on that side-arm and get your gear in order.  It's time to G.E.T. Into Action!

So there you go. Now you know and knowing is half the battle!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sherlock Unlocked

"You'll never see a more obsessively authentic version of Sherlock Holmes than this one, because it's being motored by a couple of geeks." Stephen Moffat

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

VAMP was a Lamborghini!

Turns out the VAMP MK 1 from the earliest days of the '80s G.I. Joe was based on the 1977 Lamborghini Cheetah (minus two seats)!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Mom...What's a Chemtrail?

Mom...What's a Chemtrail? is a darkly humorous children's book for those who live with or know a conspiracy theorist. Especially if they were your mom (like my brother and I had). This is a shameless promotion of Greg Willis' latest childrens book. This video includes accompaniment by him, as well. Mom...What's a Chemtrail? is available at Amazon.

G.I. Joe fan art

This is a gallery of G.I. Joe art from artist jimmymcwicked on Deviantart. Not sure what was about this style that took me, but I find it very pleasing. Enjoy...

Thursday, February 2, 2012

John Carter featurette

Here's an unusual featurette for newcomers to the John Carter story, complete with Zeppelin/Kashmir accompaniment.

Hunger Games fan art by Miranda Leiggi

When reading a novel it's often difficult to describe how one imagines or casts the characters in one's mind. They usually are nondescript phantoms if you really try to picture the character. When reading the Hunger Games trilogy (or listening to the audiobooks, in my case) I had this very problem. My mental pictures were kind of inspired by the little we've seen in the film trailers. I was startled at how close to spot on the characters Miranda Leiggi's fan art matched what my mind came up with for me. With her permission I share her work here with you...

The Mockingjay

The Boy with the Bread

The Escort

The Hunter

The Little Sister

The Mentor

The Sex Symbol

The Stylist

...and it sounds like there'll be more coming! 

Visit for more of Miranda Leiggi's artork.

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