Cherry Hinton

I have a friend who looks just like Cherry Hinton. No, not the town. The character Jared Earle used to play in SLA Industries who was nicely illustrated by Dave Allsop. The really weird thing is that she even calls herself “Cherry”.

SLA Industries was the game and Nightfall were the people that inspired me to start publishing the games I’d written. I’d long been dissatisfied with the crop of games that were out in the early 90s. There was very little edge, very little to inspire. Going to a RPG shop was a bit like flicking through the TV listings: you just looked because you were bored. It’s sad that things have returned to this way, but I think the industry moves in cycles.

The biggest issue I had at the time was that I didn’t know anyone who could draw and so The 23rd Letter was completely without art. I also didn’t have any money which meant I couldn’t even buy in art. Nightfall, in comparison, were dripping in artists.

I’d written the main draft of the rules and background in 1994 but it took nearly two years to get them into print. Why? Lots of different reasons. Computers then were very expensive compared to now. Also I was doing it very much by myself. When I did eventually start to involve the rest of my gaming group, the motley crew who would become Crucible Design, things actually slowed down rather than speeding up. This would become a pattern in the future for game development. I’m not a bad judge of character, quite the opposite I believe, but I do give people a lot of my faith and a lot of the time it’s needlessly.

In all, I’m kinda glad the real Cherry doesn’t carry a gun. I’d have probably been shot (even just flesh wounds) several times. She does look better in a suit though. And that frown I’ve seen many times.

Looking for some men in tights

Back in 1998/99, we played my WatchTower campaign with Aidan, Gavin, John, Alan (and Iain briefly). The team took over an Avengers-style franchise in San Francisco and fought several implacable foes, befriended some, lost others and rid the world of a nasty piece of work (Bloodrage). They also discovered that they culd traverse time using the dimensional-spanning powers of one of their team. Things took a long while to settle down after that.

This week, we’re resurrecting that game world. Paul K has signed up, as has Aidan and we’re looking for a couple more souls to join in and help save the world once again.

This time it’s New York.

Anyone not got a game?

Gaming Last Night: Gizeh and ZOMBIES!!!

Last night’s effort consisted of a rather fun 3D game of Connect 4 called Gizeh. And then we played the Zombies!!! boardgame.

Gizeh really is quite brain tiring as it’s a race to win all the 4s and you keep score of them, unlike Connect 4 where you spend all your time trying to link a single 4. We ended up with scores in the 20s each.

Zombies!!! likewise is tiring but only because it leaves itself ripe for gut-splitting laughs as you quickly move from a game where you’d push someone out of the way to get ahead to the point where you’d push them, knock them over, spit on them, kick them in the ribs and give their mum the finger just for a single bullet counter.

Excellent.

Reading tonight

I’ve read a fabulous article about Opium which dictates why we should blame the British Government for the modern drug cartels. Not to mention toe futility of the War on Drugs.

Hypocrisy at it’s best.

Also an interesting one about Onanism and how it relates to the general pessimism in Christianity from the New Testament because the kingdom of God was nigh.

Essentially, don’t be a wanker as the world might end.

WotW: Earth – Bows against the Lightning

“Forthwith the six guns which, unknown to anyone on the right bank, had been hidden behind the outskirts of that village, fired simultaneously. The sudden near concussion, the last close upon the first, made my heart jump. The monster was already raising the case generating the Heat-Ray as the first shell burst six yards above the hood. … Simultaneously two other shells burst in the air near the body as the hood twisted round in time to receive, but not in time to dodge, the fourth shell. The shell burst clean in the face of the Thing. The hood bulged, flashed, was whirled off in a dozen tattered fragments of red flesh and glittering metal.
“Hit!” shouted I, with something between a scream and a cheer.”

– The War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells

Of all our vaunted technology, only the efforts of the modern artillery seemed to give the invaders any pause. Even our mighty Navy, though effective, found itself helpless at sea while the marauders burned and poisoned their way through the countryside.

Even so, a battery of six guns was no match for more than two of the Martian Fighting Machines. We would always strike from surprise and the Martians, once alerted to our presence, would strike back with their terrifying heat ray and destroy the entire battery. We found we were outclassed in several areas. The Martian heat ray was deadly accurate, quick to re-orient and could fire multiple bursts of deadly invisible phlogiston in quick succession. In comparison, our artillery, field guns and cannon, was slow to reload, sluggish in movement and, perhaps worst of all, woefully inaccurate.

“The Heat-Ray is certainly capable of dealing death – melting lead, softening iron, incinerating wood and cloth and searing flesh to ashes. When used, it handles as a man might handle a searchlight – playing over it’s targets for a split second before moving on, ever in search of victims to blacken and twist.

It is limited in several ways and as a result we must play to our strengths and be well aware of the limitations of the enemy. The Heat-Ray is quick, deadly and implacable. But it is also limited in range and can only fire within the line of sight of the Martian in the hood of the fighting machine. With camouflage, surprise and God’s help, we will be able to take on perhaps as many as four Fighting Machines at once with a minimum of casualties.

Our field guns have a much greater operational range and we estimate the artillery teams can fire as many as three times before the Fighting Machines come within operational range. We can also operate from the safety of an indirect fire location – behind a hill for instance. This gives us additional protection and opportunities to lay down fire upon the enemy.

With this tactic, we can effectively resist the invaders.”

This tactic, of course, was soon abandoned as quickly as the artillerymen abandoned their guns at the sound of the terrible howl of the Fighting Machines. England, and indeed the rest of the world, belonged to the Martians.