Tuesday, September 8, 2009


It was 43 years ago today when Star Trek was born, or at least when it aired its first episode on NBC. Since that time Star Trek has been through a lot with ups and downs along the way. Today we take a trip down memory lane, counting the years since Star Trek was new...

Check out today's fantastic look back at the 43 years of Star Trek -- in text, rare pictures and video -- over at TrekMovie

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

TrekRPGNet Forum 10th Anniversary

As posted this week over in the TrekRPGnet Forums:

10 years and still flying

On August 24th 1999 did Don Mappin open the doors to this forum. Within 2 days had the number of members reached 50, some still active.

TrekRPGNet itself, as an independent repository for Star Trek roleplaying material, was created the year before. The site itself will become 11 year old in just 10 days.

Happy Anniversary to both and thanks to those who create it and maintain it to this day!

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Space: The New Black in RPGs

X-Plorers RPG from Grey Area Games I don't know if it's Gen Con, the peak of the Perseid meteor shower or the confluence of the two, but this sure seems to be a banner month for science fiction RPGs in general. The genre is still overshadowed by fantasy setting releases such as Paizo's Pathfinder and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Unaffordable Edition, but there does seem to be plenty of renewed interest in SFRPGs.

Here's a sample, starting off with the flood of Mongoose's Traveller releases (looks like I picked a good time to quit sniffing glue collecting them):

Golden Age Starships Compilation
Supplement 5: Civilian Vehicles
Supplement 6: Military Vehicles
Book 6: Scoundrel
Alien Module 1: Aslan
Judge Dredd

Mongoose is also releasing the 25th Anniversary edition of the classic Paranoia with Paranoia: Troubleshooters. And Shadowrun celebrates its 20th anniversary with, um, Shadowrun 20th Anniversary Edition. Also just released is the transhuman sci-fi Eclipse Phase, the Cthulhutech supplement Damnation View, FFG's Warhammer 40k game Rogue Trader, and Adamant Entertainment's new hardcover release of MARS: Savage Worlds Edition.

Also at risk of being overshadowed are some SFRPG releases from smaller outfits, but books I can't wait to get my hands on nonetheless.

First up, Grey Area Games has released the OGL-based X-Plorers: the Role Playing Adventures of Galactic Troubleshooters (pictured above) by David "grubman" Bezio. If you've ever wondered what would have happened in 1974 if Gary & Dave had tried to make a science fiction game rather than a fantasy game (using that same Original system), X-Plorer's may have been the result. The printed version is available for $12 ($6 PDF) through Lulu, and I'm going to wait until I have it before I do a proper review elsewhere, but you can check it out right now, absolutely FREE, on the X-Plorer's Downloads page. The Free version omits the art and some of the enhancements of the Full version, but is absolutely everything you need to start playing. So try it, then buy it! I'm really anxious to see what comes of this game. David is already planning on Galactic Troubleshooters, a quarterly supplement to the game, and it will be interesting to see if it gains the same kind of traction that other recent "old school" games such as OSRIC, Swords & Wizardry and Spellcraft & Swordplay have garnered. And of course (on topic), I'm interested to see how easily the "United Corporate Nations (UCN)" might translate to the UFP!

From Original-based old school to FATE-based new school, the long-awaited hard science fiction RPG, Diaspora, is finally here from VSCA Publishing with a 6x9 hardback available for $35 through their store at Lulu. Here are some description excerpts from the Diaspora Wiki (where you can find preview PDFs and other tools):

Humans have been in space tens of thousands of years, and societies have risen and fallen so many times that no one remembers where we come from.

Colonies are grouped in clusters of a few systems connected by slipstreams - artifacts of the cosmos or perhaps a forgotten technology. Only the splipstreams allow travel faster than light. Apart from that, spacecrafts make do with reaction drives, dumping heat as best they can.

Diaspora is a self-contained role-playing game, with rules for starship-battles, individual combat, social interaction, and platoon-scale engagement, in an original science fiction setting that you help design.

This is your universe. How are you going to survive?.

Sounds stark, but fascinating. Very "anti-Traveller" in ways, and I think the market could use that right now. Looking forward to picking it up with the next paycheck.

Thousand Suns: Foundation TransmissionsFinally, from Rogue Games' comes the latest supplement for their grand space opera RPG, Thousand Suns, called Foundation Transmissions. It's available today for $7 as a PDF through RPGnow, with the $13 print edition available at Gen Con now and through Indie Press Revolution in a few weeks. The 130-page book is a collection of articles and new game mechanics for Thousand Suns by Rogues Richard Iorio II and James Maliszewski, Gabriel Brouillard, and some new guy named Robert Saint John. I saw it this morning and it's absolutely loaded with some great art, some of which didn't make it into the original core rules book. Articles include:

  • Military Ranks in Thousand Suns (this is one of mine... note the section on ranks for "Navy/Combined (Starfleet)")
  • The Ways of Scheming
  • Custom Weapons
  • Custom Protection
  • Guide to the Core Worlds
  • A Spacefarer's Introduction to Lingua Terra
  • The Aurigan (new alien species)
  • Robots

A preview of this and other Rogue Games and Thousand Suns material can always be found on their Scribd site.

So even if you (like me) couldn't make it to Gen Con, there's plenty of new SFRPG stuff out there this month to keep us occupied. 2009 has shaped up to be a great year for the genre, and it shows no signs of slowing down in 2010!

But wait! There's more.....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Geekdo - The Way of the (RPG) Geek

My CommunicatorDuring the wife's tradeshow, I kept myself amused on her "insanely great" iPhone 3Gs. I'm not even a Mac or iAnything head, and I couldn't stop being amazed by what I could do with it. I may have to give in and trade in my current phone (left).

One place I spent a lot of quality time at is the new Geekdō RPG Geek site, from the folks who brought us the wonderful BoardGameGeek. Geekdō is now the "brandname" and parent site for both BGG and its new (and looonnnnggg overdue) RPG sibling. If you're not familiar with BGG, it's basically a HUGE community-driven database of every boardgame and its variations known to humankind. Once you've registered, you can find the games you have (past and present), add them to your collection, rate and comment on them, and discuss them with others. Have a game that's not listed? Add it! See a game that's listed, but has no pictures or description? Expand the entry! Have a favorite game and want to find similar games? BGG is the place to do it.

It's been an invaluable resource for me, especially for old microgames from the 70s and 80s I love so much. And if it weren't for BGG, I never would have been able to track down some really obscure foreign games for Star Trek, Godzilla and Ultraman (and greatly expand some of those entries as well). The interface for BGG is really overwhelming, but eventually you learn to customize it and/or learn to live with its quirks.

One thing BGG has never had, though, is roleplaying games. Some slip through the cracks if they're hybrid boardgames (for example, Battlestations or some of The Fantasy Trip games like Melee and Wizard), but much of what I cover here could not be found on BGG. With Geekdō and its new RPG sub-domain, that's all changing very fast.

It's been in the works for awhile, and there are still some kinks to work out. RPGs and the variety of formats, supplements and connections between games make them very different than the boardgame industry, but I think they've done a pretty great job so far. Over the past week, RPGs that fall under the Star Trek "family" has made enormous progress, and new listings and expansions are being added nearly every day... even by a guy stuck at a tradeshow with his wife's iPhone.

There's a long way to go, though, especially with the FASA Star Trek releases, and I'm pretty sure there's more than 12 people who own the CODA Star Trek Roleplaying Game. So hop over, check it out and build and rate your collection (here's mine, under construction)! Once you're comfortable, you won't be able to resist making a contribution... or two... or three... and soon you'll wonder where your afternoon went!

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What a crazy few weeks! Had a big job that had to be finished last Friday, then off for 4 days to help my wife Barbe with her big wholesalers' tradeshow, the San Francisco International Gift Fair. That was a huge success (for her), but EXHAUSTING!

So today is the day I catch up on e-mails and other online happenings, and should have a new post here by the end of the day.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Gone Underground

Just felt that I needed to post an update since I've been MIA for a week or so now. Just overwhelmed with Real Life™ commitments last week and for the coming week as well (pays the bills!). Wish I could say I was busy prepping for Gen Con, but that's not it at all either (since I'm not going, wah).

My absence may have seemed ominous in light of a post I made a few weeks ago, but its nothing to do with that at all. Just work. I'll try to get back in the groove week after this, and post tidbits before then if time allows. I have some good stuff and news to share, just need the time to do them justice.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Star Trek II - New and Expanded Soundtrack Released!

I usually don't snatch and repeat news published elsewhere, but this came from out of the blue and is just too exciting not to share.

As reported today at TrekMovie, Film Score Monthly and Screen Archives Entertainment have released a newly expanded and remastered soundtrack to James Horner’s 1982 score for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan! What was 9 tracks and 40-some minutes is now 23 tracks and 77 minutes, includes a 28 page booklet with rare photos and notes, and is only $20.

Wow. After all these years, I'd pretty much given up hope this would ever happen. I was proven wrong with TMP and Superman: The Movie (I love films scores) now this. Hmmm, what else have I given up on that may have a chance after all?

Anyway, get yourself over to FSM now, and be sure to note the $5 off special for orders over $50.

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