What have you been reading?

AsenRG

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actually
  1. to refocus my work a bit. I've leveraged a bit of the philosophy in my work, and I always liked Musashi for focus.
  2. to demonstrate to my child I read books, and I enjoy them. We have to fight with him a bit, even though he's a fine reader.
I'm also fond of the 36 stratagems for tactics, and I do try to think like that. Had a good discussion with an interview candidate, made reference to the resurrection of a dead figure and I think she got it. She is one of the smartest people I've ever interviewed, and with one of the keenest minds I've seen. when asked my opinion for hiring her I said "who do I have to kill to get her"
Well...your reaction was probably right:smile:.

I've considered the possibility that if I were to do a licensed product for a setting. This would be the one I'd go for. But it's pretty intimidating to do it justice but I love the challenge. Plus I've been considering whether or not to create a whole system for it? Or do in Savage Worlds... as my formal entry into Savage Worlds products.

It's been rolling around in my head and nagging me for years. But the subject matter is just so damn dark... and you know the inevitable politics that attempt to smash it. But then... that is a good reason why it needs to be done. It really is a worthy setting, and for that alone deserves love.

I mean who wouldn't want to learn Dunyain Logos? The Surillic Cants? The Scyth of Gottaga? Walk the skies beneath the Nail of Heaven and cast fires down from the heavens? Learn the mysteries of the Quyan masters? It has amazing potential.

So what did you think of Swayal Sisterhood?
I'm all for it:wink:!

And I'd like a custom system, please:grin:! Or maybe...bi-system, like TSL?

But I suspect whatever you come up with would be more interesting.
And as a bonus, you know we're going to hack your system for running Dune:shade:!

That's why nobody is clamoring for a pornstar RPG.
...Bwahahahahahahaha:evil:!
You mean, other than the half a dozen or so dedicated ones that I remember having read? Unlike the supplements for some of the big-name systems:devil:?

What you consider appropriate for an RPG and what other people consider appropriate...might vary significantly.

And can you imagine that as a TV series?
Yes.
Probably a French one.

Sometimes we get caught up so much in the politics of the moment that we can lose track of the basics. I'm not a prude - you notice that I really enjoyed these books. But I wouldn't want to see a faithful TV version of Prince of Nothing with my human eyeballs. And I wouldn't want to play out some of those book incidents at the table.
And yet, neither of your examples is unheard of in Exalted sessions...granted, some less than others. But once demons come into play, any bets are off the table:devil:.
I'll leave it at that.

I was thinking about it and one issue is that a lot of the character types would be hard to balance. Balance can be overrated, but you've got the classic Jedi PC problem here. The Dunyain, in particular, would be extremely hard to know how to play and probably too OP for a lot of situations. Sorcerers are also extremely powerful. I'd definitely leave the Logos for NPCs only, and sorcerers would probably come with a bunch of caveats about how you might need to run a troupe of sorcerers like Ars Magica. You can only have so many Chorae in play before it starts to feel deliberately nerfed.
Well...I'd trust @tenbones to have included that as part of the design of his system.
I mean, it's almost like making an RPG for Buffy, or the Witcher! Who'd want to play anything but a Slayer, or a Witcher/Sorcerer(ess)...right?

And yet, those exist. And they give you actual good reasons to pick anything but those.
But the reasons are dependent on the system being used, and would be hard to duplicate in either D&D or SW.
 
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Baulderstone

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I've considered the possibility that if I were to do a licensed product for a setting. This would be the one I'd go for. But it's pretty intimidating to do it justice but I love the challenge. Plus I've been considering whether or not to create a whole system for it? Or do in Savage Worlds... as my formal entry into Savage Worlds products.
It depends if you want people online to hate your game for creating yet another system for a licensed property instead of using one of the perfectly good ones in existence, or if you want people to hate it for trying to cram a licensed property into a pre-existing system. The choice is yours!
 

AsenRG

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It depends if you want people online to hate your game for creating yet another system for a licensed property instead of using one of the perfectly good ones in existence, or if you want people to hate it for trying to cram a licensed property into a pre-existing system. The choice is yours!
And since there are going to be haters, you should do whatever you think would be best for the game:grin:!
 

tenbones

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I put some thought into various kinds of adaptations. If I was going to adapt the series for, say, a prestige HBO series, I would massively tone down the sexual violence and replace it largely with the cannibalism that comes into play towards the end.

It's not just about politics. Some material is not appropriate for some venues. That's why nobody is clamoring for a pornstar RPG. Do you really want to be in a session where a PC gets raped by a Skin Spy but can't help but enjoy it? I think there are very few groups that would feel comfortable having that happen at the table. Would you want to read out box text about Sranc copulating with corpses? Just say no!

And can you imagine that as a TV series? It's one thing when it's in a book, but let's be honest...you'd have sickos beating off to that stuff.
Seriously. I was giggling at the absurdity of trying to portray all of this stuff on screen (or in game-text). People would lose their minds. Yeah you can imply a LOT without having to overtly show it.

But you know... the books are out there. People will be outraged regardless. That still - it could make for an insanely good TV show on HBO/Showtime. I know there was a rumor that Showtime was courting Bakker... but I have no idea if that fell through.

Sometimes we get caught up so much in the politics of the moment that we can lose track of the basics. I'm not a prude - you notice that I really enjoyed these books. But I wouldn't want to see a faithful TV version of Prince of Nothing with my human eyeballs. And I wouldn't want to play out some of those book incidents at the table.
I'm with you 100% on this. It's not like I haven't had a lot of dark elements in my campaigns over the years. You can do 99% of the books in other mediums and just ignore the over-the-top gross stuff. The implication of a lot of it enough for the human mind to fill in.

I was thinking about it and one issue is that a lot of the character types would be hard to balance. Balance can be overrated, but you've got the classic Jedi PC problem here. The Dunyain, in particular, would be extremely hard to know how to play and probably too OP for a lot of situations. Sorcerers are also extremely powerful. I'd definitely leave the Logos for NPCs only, and sorcerers would probably come with a bunch of caveats about how you might need to run a troupe of sorcerers like Ars Magica. You can only have so many Chorae in play before it starts to feel deliberately nerfed.
See - I see it as a scaling issue. Chorae <> Magicians. They're a great equalizer. I've actually put them in play - I was running a massive Realms campaign that went to 20th+ level with one of the conceits being that 6 artifacts were in play killing off all of Mystra's Chosen (heh). And they were Chorae (created by Cerebremancers among the Githzerai). Anyhow - it immediately put all the Arcane casters on notice when I salted Khelben Blackstaff, Elminster, the Sisters, oh so fun! The look on their faces...hahahah. I only had six of them running around... testing the waters so to speak and they had the exact desired effect. It kept casters from uber-flexing non-stop and raised the need for ass-kicking martial characters to deal with those Chorae wielders.

Obviously with the proliferation of them in the Bakker Books - they will inhabit the same space (more so). Dunyain <> Jedi - agreed. But that said, it's totally playable depending on the system. The devil is in the details. Dunyain were killable for sure, but the assumptions of the setting put them beyond the average person, much like a Sorcerer. Then the permutations of allowing a Dunyain to actually learn Sorcery. The primary benefit of the Dunyain is the *insane* ability to acquire skills and knowledge.

You can design around that. But it means your game-system will have to scale really well which puts it out of reach of most class-level based systems imo.
 

tenbones

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It depends if you want people online to hate your game for creating yet another system for a licensed property instead of using one of the perfectly good ones in existence, or if you want people to hate it for trying to cram a licensed property into a pre-existing system. The choice is yours!
LOL yeah the hate doth flow both directions doesn't it?
 

Edgewise

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What you consider appropriate for an RPG and what other people consider appropriate...might vary significantly.
I would not try to suggest that nobody whatsoever would be interested in such a game. But it would be very niche. I don’t see a strict adaptation as a savage worlds product, for instance.
Yes.
Probably a French one.
I am familiar with French horror, and I could see that. I don’t know French TV at all but I’m earnestly surprised that this would be suitable.

Look, it might be a bit much to say this is entirely non-political, but I think this stuff would be considered pretty extreme at most points in history and geography that I’m familiar with. I’m not really saying anything much more than that. It’s fine if some folks have outre tastes for role-playing. I just don’t think the politics and cultural sensibilities are as much of-the-moment as it may seem. This material would have been even more controversial in the US during the 80s given the Satanic Panic, for example.
 

AsenRG

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I would not try to suggest that nobody whatsoever would be interested in such a game. But it would be very niche. I don’t see a strict adaptation as a savage worlds product, for instance.
You'd be even more surprised how many downloads some of those games had got, then:smile:!

I am familiar with French horror, and I could see that. I don’t know French TV at all but I’m earnestly surprised that this would be suitable.
Well, I can't say anything about the TV. I was actually assuming some restricted cable channel might air it, though.
I mean, you have more faith in humanity than me if you suspect someone wouldn't go after the possible extra subscriptions...:wink:

Look, it might be a bit much to say this is entirely non-political, but I think this stuff would be considered pretty extreme at most points in history and geography that I’m familiar with. I’m not really saying anything much more than that.
Extreme, yes. I've never argued that:grin:!
The most feared spells in Exalted are rightfully "Demon of the 1st/2nd/3rd Circle". Both by enemies and friends, sometimes.

It’s fine if some folks have outre tastes for role-playing.
They're more than you suspect, I believe.

I just don’t think the politics and cultural sensibilities are as much of-the-moment as it may seem.
Definitely not. If anything, all that changes is who's pushing restrictions, IMO.

This material would have been even more controversial in the US during the 80s given the Satanic Panic, for example.
Probably. I've never lived there:devil:!
 

Edgewise

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Anyhow - it immediately put all the Arcane casters on notice when I salted Khelben Blackstaff, Elminster, the Sisters, oh so fun!
That is awesome...I hope Elminster was salted mid-lecture.
 

Voros

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I’d agree, I’ve read a fair bit of Marquis de Sade but Pasolini’s Salo is disturbing enough without portraying all the extreme sexual violence of his novel.
 

Voros

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Re-reading my all-time favorite "military" novel, Catch-22, a book that, along with Animal Farm and a few others, has done much to shape my worldview. I've had this copy since I was around 20.
Funniest book I've ever read. Have never found anything close.
 

carpocratian

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I really like the early short stories and novellas of Evenson but I haven't read this one although I have it.
Oops, posted the wrong one by Evenson. I finished Last Days a couple of weeks ago. The Open Curtain is the one I'm reading now.

It is an odd book. The idea is interesting, but he ends up throwing in a lot of mundane and repetitive stuff instead of delving more deeply into the history and philosophy of the cult.

Evidently it is an expansion of a novella titled The Brotherhood of Mutilation. It does seem to be more like a shorter work that was padded out a bit.
 

carpocratian

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OpenCurtain-Web1_1024x1024.jpg


This is the one I'm actually reading right now. It has some of the same problems as "Last Days," with unnecessarily repetitive and mundane scenes. I got it at the same time as "Last Days," but it will probably be my last Evenson purchase, unless it gets a lot better near the end.
 

Voros

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View attachment 9914


This is the one I'm actually reading right now. It has some of the same problems as "Last Days," with unnecessarily repetitive and mundane scenes. I got it at the same time as "Last Days," but it will probably be my last Evenson purchase, unless it gets a lot better near the end.
Check out his short stories, I think his style is better suited to shorter forms, his early work is also more overtly shocking/horror.
 

carpocratian

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Check out his short stories, I think his style is better suited to shorter forms, his early work is also more overtly shocking/horror.
That's good to know. Some writers are just better at one form than another.
 

Nobby-W

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I just read the first two volumes of the Hyperion Cantos - Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion. It's really a single story split across two volumes, and I read it from an omnibus edition containing both. It's one of the more intense stories I've read, perhaps the most intense work since I started reading fiction in quantity again. It's definitely an original; I don't think I've seen anything quite like it. The closest I could relate it to would be Revelation Space but they're not all that similar. Some aspects reminded me a bit of Alfred Bester.

Rating 4.5/5. It was original, taut, intelligent and evocative. Reading about Sol Weintraub while minding two pre-school children is somewhat disturbing. In spite of that it didn't click with me in quite the way some other books have. I'll probably read the third and fourth books at some point.
 
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Edgewise

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I just read the first two volumes of the Hyperion Cantos - Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion.
It's very interesting stuff, but be prepared that the last two books take things in very different directions, if I recall properly. If you're like me, the reason it didn't totally click is because Simmons is a bit too much in love with his ideas, and the characters sometimes seem a little thin (if not quite afterthoughts).
 

Silverlion

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Swapping between "The Long Lost Friend" (research for a game), and superhero stories of various sorts. Notably reading recent Spenser run on Amazing Spider-man and being generally happy with his handling of wall-crawler.
 

carpocratian

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Swapping between "The Long Lost Friend" (research for a game), and superhero stories of various sorts. Notably reading recent Spenser run on Amazing Spider-man and being generally happy with his handling of wall-crawler.
I have read "The Long Lost Friend" many times. I own a few different copies from various time periods. I first found out about it a few decades ago when I found Manly Wade Wellman's "Silver John" stories.
 

Silverlion

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I have read "The Long Lost Friend" many times. I own a few different copies from various time periods. I first found out about it a few decades ago when I found Manly Wade Wellman's "Silver John" stories.

I never thought to look for a copy in the past. I ran into the Silver John stories in the mid-late 80's. With the last collection I read (that the library had) announced Wellman's death which broke my heart. It had come out the same year or the very next. Meaning it had been a relatively new book for the library which was often unusual unless it was a top 25 bestseller.) I'm still hunting copies of some of the stories (I've got one collection with most of them, but not the longer novels, although I do have a John Thunstone novel, which is mentioned as the precursor to the Silver John ones, "School of Darkness.")

I'll note, I wrote to Kurt Busiek on Twitter, about the Astro City collection, "Broken Melody", and an old west character Silverstring mentioned briefly before being murdered. Thinking there was an obvious connection to Wellman's books, which he confirmed for me.

I sought out "The Long Lost Friend," as a resource for a character I'm planning on playing in a future game. (But also to have to draw upon for my own writings.) I think it will be a really useful reference for the "Righteous Men" in my Old West Horror game I'd like to do as well.
 

carpocratian

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I'll note, I wrote to Kurt Busiek on Twitter, about the Astro City collection, "Broken Melody", and an old west character Silverstring mentioned briefly before being murdered. Thinking there was an obvious connection to Wellman's books, which he confirmed for me.

I sought out "The Long Lost Friend," as a resource for a character I'm planning on playing in a future game. (But also to have to draw upon for my own writings.) I think it will be a really useful reference for the "Righteous Men" in my Old West Horror game I'd like to do as well.
I wasn't aware of the Silverstring character. That's very cool!

If you ever want to dig deeper into the Pennsylvania Dutch system of powwow/braucherei (the same magic system in "The Long Lost Friend"), the most comprehensive resource is "The Red Church" by Bilardi.

What are the "Righteous Men?"
 

Silverlion

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Well, I wanted something to stand out, in CHILL(original) you had SAVE, in Poltergeist: The Legacy, you had their organization and in various other horror settings and media you've got people with powers, or some magic/supernatural kick to fight the evil.

In this case, the Righteous men (and women) are simply "God"-fearing folk, awarded a bit more oomph than most. Think of them as chosen by good; but instead of being necessarily being warriors, or granted superpowers they're simply emboldened to take action for the greater good. Oh, they do get a few blessings to help 'em out, but they're not on the scale of things like you find in Witchcraft: RPG, or Deadlands, or whatever.

They might be able to know the truth from a lie when spoken. They might know the right words to write down from the Good Book, to turn aside the power of evil spirits (by heart), they might smell black magic. I don't want to make them only Christian (though I think it will lean heavily on some of that.) But whatever their faith they've been chosen by something awfully good at picking the right people to turn back evil. I don't want to exclude Native Americans, or Chinese rail-workers from having been called. Sometimes, they're just who ya need when things get bad--could be the town Ferrier, who makes sure there is a silver nailed horseshoe over every houses' main door, keeping evil out. Except for the ordinary human sources of evil. But someone dabbling in dark magic is going to have a hard time accepting a welcome into the houses he made sure got a lucky horseshoe, and aren't going to be doing any magic inside its walls.

They're modeled heavily after John, and some of the few "Westerns" I enjoyed (Rifleman, Grizzly Adams) But centered around "just a good person, doing what they can."
 

Nobby-W

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Books 3 and 4 of The Expanse - Abaddon's Gate and Cibola Burn. These deal with what happens when the protomolecule finishes its mission, creating a gigantic wormhole gate and flying it out to an orbit at the edge of the solar system. They are passably good action-adventure although I thought the villains in both were a bit two-dimensional - just evil personified in various ways. From that perspective they lived up to their 'Hollywood blockbuster in book form' quote on the cover.

Abbadon's Gate: 3/5. The plot set up in this book felt a bit contrived and the villain even more so. However, it did feature some interesting ideas and made for a decent action/adventure story.

Cibola Burn: 3.5/5 - Cibola Burn was a bit better than Abbadon's Gate but I thought the first two in the series were better. Good, light reading, fun space opera but a bit two-dimensional and formulaic in places and the ending felt a little contrived.

Edit: I'm not sure if posting large scans of the covers really adds anything to this.
_____________________
Scale: 0 - Offensive (Star Wars Holiday Special), 1: Bad, not worth reading, 2: OK, 3: Decent - worth reading, 4: Good, 5: Sublime - A-list material.
 
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Edgewise

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They are passably good action-adventure although I thought the villains in both were a bit two-dimensional - just evil personified in various ways.
I initially thought you were talking about the most recent two. The series has typically struggled with its antagonists after Mao and Erinnwright.
 

dbm

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I just finished Sharp Ends, which is a short story collection from Joe Abercrombie's Circle of the World setting. Excellent stuff
I’ve just read this, too. I think he is probably my favourite living fantasy author.

Just a shame that there aren’t any new, full books at the moment. Sharp Ends was a great read, but not as meaty as his usual stuff by virtue of being short stories.

I do love how his books have moved on to the second tier characters from the first series. Makes the world very rich and nuanced.
 

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Wow, is anyone else reading the Vinland Saga manga? I just started reading it after getting the manga Humble Bundle and It is GOOD sorta reminds me of the Berserk manga.
 

Baeraad

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I’ve just read this, too. I think he is probably my favourite living fantasy author.

Just a shame that there aren’t any new, full books at the moment. Sharp Ends was a great read, but not as meaty as his usual stuff by virtue of being short stories.

I do love how his books have moved on to the second tier characters from the first series. Makes the world very rich and nuanced.
I understand the first book of a new trilogy will be published this September. :smile:
 

Brock Savage

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Karl Edgar Wagner's Kane novels and Neal Stephenson's Fall. I am looking for the Kensho series by Dennis Schmidt; I read it when I was 11-12 and hope it's held up over the years.
 

dbm

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I understand the first book of a new trilogy will be published this September. :smile:
Yes, reading his blog the first book is approaching print-ready and the other two are written in draft format. The plan is to release in 2019-20-21.

Other authors should take note...
 
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