AGOT d20 Addendum (of a sort)

I am eagerly awaiting Green Ronin’s upcoming A Song of Ice and Fire RPG, and not just because I worked on it (OK, a large part of it is because I wrote ’em a couple of chapters, but I also want to see what Hal “Righteous Fist” Mangold is going to do with it. The art I’ve seen is wicked so far).

Some time before GenCon I lent a colleague my working copy of AGOT d20 for him to peruse. He liked it and was so intrigued that he finally got around to reading the novels. He’s finished the first and is working on Clash of Kings as we speak. But he was inspired to come up with a few house rules for the old version of the game. Figured I’d post these here until we get the new goods from GR.

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Posted in General on September 17, 2008 by Jesse
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Slacker Art

While I try not to procrastinate (the irony does not escape me) and get a few writer-y or designer-y things done, figured I’d steal a riff from Jason Durall’s blog and post a Wordle of my site.

Meanwhile, jdurall’s Wordle is here.


Posted in General, Link Blog on September 16, 2008 by Jesse
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Armchair Reviewing, Writing, and Designing

Been quiet for a while, healing my stupid leg up.

First, if you read this spot, then you know I go on and on and on about Hobby Games: 100 Best. If someone I haven’t convinced you to track this wonderful piece down, perhaps the fine folks at Armchair General can tip the scales.

They do a nice review:

Quick—name the best game you’ve ever played!

Tough to narrow that down, isn’t it? But 100 game designers, developers and others from the game industry were asked to do something similar: to submit three or more “best game” nominees. They were then asked to write about one of those nominees and explain why it deserved to be included in Hobby Games: The 100 Best.

The full review is here.

Second, on the scriptwriting scene, I helped Dev come up with a few shorts for a work project. His mandate was to incorporate responses from an employee survey (comments and concerns) into short skits for a presentation. It was a fun little exercise, and with luck they will be filmed and we’ll get a copy.

Been working on a few more urban fantasy outlines for several stories, but need to do a lot more work where they are concerned.

And I’ve been putting together some ideas for a D&D adventure. It will be a low-level / introductory thing, probably using kobolds (who doesn’t love kobolds), stealing some of Will Hindmarch’s ideas, a few of Mike Mearl’s, mixing in some Greek mythology, and a heavy dosage of George Martin flavoring for the world setting. If I flesh it out more, I might sketch some of it out here.


Posted in General on September 9, 2008 by Jesse
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GenCon: The Other Side

I think this was my…11th GenCon, believe it or not.

97 was my first, 98, skipped 99, 2000, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08.

Good Lord. 11 is supposed to be a lucky number, but I’m not sure it was in this case. I’m glad I went, but it was a strange show. Marked more by a sense of confusion, lack of planning, and my breaking body. Anyway, with that said, here’s a few things to consider / remember / reflect on:

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Posted in General on August 20, 2008 by Jesse
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GenCon Day 0

Made it with co-writer-cum-driver Dev to Indianapolis in decent time yesterday. Drive was pretty fair, though 9 hours is always long.

We arrived and found our hotel, and found Jason, jdurall, in the room. We quickly ditched our things and headed out to find badges, food, drink, and friends (in no particular order).

One quick aside, which I desperately hope I’ll stop talking about soon, is that somehow the night before we left I fucked my left leg up. I don’t know what I did. This has never happened before. It’s like a brutal cramp that won’t go away, and if I stand wrong or stretch too far a shooting pain goes down to my toes. This all despite going to be early and getting decent sleep before the con, the first time maybe ever. I feel like my some of my heroes – old, decaying writers, dropping off and only soldiering through the pain by drink and force of will alone, but dammit, I figured I had another decade before I hit that point. Bloody hell.

Anyway, we limped (OK, I limped, they strolled) away from our hotel, which is on the south side of the Indianapolis Convention Center – a bit of disorientation as we’re normally on the north side. As we made our way up, we were joined by fellow Canadian and game luminary Robin Laws.

Robin was in need of food and badge (definitely in that order), and joined us. He stolidly accepted our course to get badges first, and even endured patiently while we stood in line for swag bags. But then it was find food or watch Robin eat his own arm, so we quickly left the convention center.

Robin guided us to Weber’s Grill, where food and drink were found. Jason was a non-believer in good BBQ outside of Texas, but he was won over. I had beer-can chicken, and while it was good, I’ve had better at a friend’s cookout back home recently. Ah well.

Dinner polished off, Jason, Robin, and I headed to the annual kick-off to GenCon, the Diana Jones Award Party. Dev begged off and went back to recuperate.

The winner of the Diana Jones awards was a tie this year – I’m just going to be lazy and quote Robin’s livejournal her:

* Wolfgang Baur and his Open Design project, an innovative business model bringing D&D support material to a base of patron/subscribers whose input shapes the product line.

* Gray Ranks, an indie game by Jason Morningstar in which a GM-less group creates a narrative featuring doomed teenage resistance fighters in Warsaw during the waning days of WWII.

More details after we find food and check out the hall…


Posted in General on August 14, 2008 by Jesse
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Voting Now Open

Voting for the ENnie Awards is now (finally) open at the following URL:
http://www.ennieawards.com/voting/index.phtml

Voting will run from Monday, July 28th until Wednesday August 6th.

Nominees can be found here:
http://www.ennieawards.com/08/2008noms-1.html

You don’t have to vote in every category, or fill out all the slots in any one category. (To quote the voting site: “If you don’t like a product, don’t vote for it. You cannot hurt a product’s chances of winning by putting it on a low ranking ballot. Quite to the contrary, you’ll help it out if the race goes down to the wire.”)

If you liked Hobby Games 100 please consider voting for us.

And good luck to all the nominees!


Posted in General on July 28, 2008 by Jesse
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1/99 of a Nomination

Hey, I was nominated for an ENie Award…well, to be honest, Hobby Games: The 100 Best made the final ballot in the regalia category (“best product used to complement role playing game play”).

As I contributed one essay to this terrific collection (as I’ve said a few times now), I’m 1/99 in the running for an award. This makes me very happy!

The finalists in the regalia category can be found here.

Links to the entire slate of nominees can be found here:

Hobby Games: The 100 Best is nominated in the regalia category, which recognizes products that are not games, but add to the enjoyment of gaming.

Voting is held online, and anyone can vote. Voting is tracked by IP address and limited to one vote per individual, as tracked by IP. And they take this very seriously. Please don’t screw around. The ENies are one of the few industry awards that really means something. But it only means something if we treat the award process with the respect it deserves.

Voting begins Monday, July 21st and runs through Sunday, August 3rd. The voting site can be reached through http://www.ennieawards.com.

The awards will be announced during Gen Con, with the ceremony taking place Friday, August 15th at the at the Westin Grand Ballroom, at 7:30 pm.

I’ll do my best to make it out, though how they’ll get all 100 of us around one table, I dunno. Last year was a lot of fun. And this year Teflon Billy better not ditch me for the better party!


Posted in General on July 23, 2008 by Jesse
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Wasp Knife!?!

Senior police officers have been warned to look out for a new knife which can inject a ball of compressed gas into its victim that instantly freezes internal organs.

The ‘wasp knife’, which can deliver a ball of compressed gas capable of killing its victim at the press of a button, may be heading for Britain, the Metropolitan Police fear.

A needle in the tip of the blade shoots out the frozen ball of gas which instantly balloons to the size of a basketball, freezing organs.

The Metropolitan Police have told colleagues in the West Midlands to be on the lookout for the blade, which is designed to kill sharks and bears.

What a crazy thing. Be great for some high-tech espionage game or perhaps a gritty superhero thing.

Link to Mail Online article.


Posted in General, Pointy Things on July 20, 2008 by Jesse
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Big Smoke Stories…Best in Show

Toronto. Friday night, cold but bearable, around midnight.

I was walking my aged dog down our street at the top of the block, watching for icy patches and guiding her around the snowbanks. At nearly 13, my malamute ain’t what she used to be. While she still has decent endurance for the winter, arthritis and muscle weakness have wiped out any sure-footedness she might once have had.

I had my hat pulled low, my hood pulled up, and was listening to Flogging Molly on the iPod. Our neighborhood is ok, but not great. The street we live in is generally quiet, older houses and older families, but the main drag one street south can be a bit rough and dodgy at times. I try to pay attention late at night, but was a bit startled to catch a maroon mini-van suddenly pacing us, watching us from the other side of the snowbanks.

Suddenly the passenger window rolls down and a hispanic dude – some kind of north of the border, suburbanite cholo – sticks his face out and says something to me. I can’t hear him, so I yank out my headphones and ask him to repeat himself.

“Are you breeding the dog?” he shouts out.

“Uh, no,” I reply, a little off-guard.

“You sure, man? It’s a beautiful dog.”

“Yes, yes I’m sure. Thank you, but she’s an old girl now.”

All this time we’re still walking, the van is still pacing us. Now the passenger door slides open, and another dude in the back leans out to check us out. He asks if she’s a pure breed, and then they roll up the windows and shut the doors and roll on down the street.

It was all very odd. We had just been propositioned like some kind of long-retired strippers, or grandmas-nee-street walkers. And the punk kids in the mini-van looking for a dog to stud or breed in the middle of the night. All very odd.

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Posted in General on February 16, 2008 by Jesse
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Late to the Party

(City of Heroes update)

arctic-sun-markt-horizon_small.jpg

Old news by now, but NCsoft’s buy-out of the City of Heroes IP from Cryptic is big news for the company, team, game and players (not necessarily in that order). Previous to this, NCsoft & Cryptic shared the property 50/50. Cryptic did the development work out in California, and NCsoft did a lot of Quality Assurance, Customer Service, PR, and Community* from Austin. There was a … let’s call it an embassy … of NCsoft Producers working out in Cali with the rest of the team, working on the project on a very high level.

So what does the purchase mean? Well, all of this is just my best guess of course (and full disclosure, I used to work for NCsoft on the CoH team, so consider my words shaded appropriately):

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Posted in CoH, Games, General on November 20, 2007 by Jesse
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Jesse Scoble

Jesse Scoble is a writer, story editor, and game designer in no particular order.

He has won awards, written a Western Horror script, worked on computer games & pen&paper games, contributed to more than 30 titles, and makes a mean mojito.

Currently he is a freelance writer in Montreal, QC.