One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Out Of The Dark

This post's title has a double meaning. For one it's about this blog finally coming out hibernation and me getting back to writing and blogging. But it's also the title of the book by David Weber that I'm currently reading.

I'm at a loss to explain exactly how David Weber's books have been completely off my radar up until recently. The first book of his I read was “In Fury Born” when a buddy of mine recently recommended it to me. This is military sci-fi at it's best! Set in mankind's far future, the book expands on Weber's earlier novel “Path of Fury”. The story follows the career of Alicia DeVries as she progressively moves higher in the ranks and more into more elite combat units. Then things get really interesting. After a particularity brutal combat mission DeVries becomes disillusioned with the military and quits to live a peaceful life on the frontier planet called Mathison's World. But this peaceful respite is not to last, and a short time after a pirate raid leaves DeVries family dead and her seething with the desire for revenge. Theres more, and I don't really want to spoil anything if you haven’t read this book yet. What I will say is that the book is packed with great action scenes, full of intrigue, and a bunch of interesting twists on typical science fiction literature. This is a dense well written book and it left me hungry for more.

That was when I picked up “Out of the Dark”. Based on a short story of the same name this book takes the old idea of aliens invading Earth and puts an interesting spin on it. The story begins with a race of aliens from the Galactic Hegemony observing Earth during the 15th century. Horrified with just how savage Humanity is and fearing that one day we might reach the stars, a plan is put into motion. The Shongairi, another war like alien race are manipulated into attacking Earth. However, the Hegemony underestimated how quickly we are able to advance technologically and by the time the Shongairi arrive Earth is well into the 21st century.

Weber is a prolific writer with over 40 novels or collaborations to his name. He has quickly become one of my favourite author's. In particular I can't wait to read his signature Honor Harrington Series, and his newest Safehold series. It's times like these that I wish I could read a lot faster! If your looking for some awesome science fiction to read trust me when I say you could do a lot worse than reading anything by David Weber.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Campaign Arcs

It's been a while. I've been writing again and the desire to run a game has been eating me up. These Demons must be fed....

While I was working on my campaign I read this article called "The Covenant of the Arcs" by  Christopher Perkins, from his The Dungeon Master Experience column. I'm not gonna lie, I don't really dig 4e. I've said this before and I don't need to bash the game. It's not my bag, nuff said. However, I do feel that if your not reading this no DDI membership required column your doing yourself a great disservice. Mr. Perkins runs what seems to me to be one of the coolest 4e D&D campaigns for not just one, but TWO weekly groups!

Part of what I think has made his campaign and others like his so awesome is plot weaving. The ability to take multiple story ideas and combine them into something that combines the best of sandboxing and linear structure into one awesome campaign. In this article Perkins gives us a basic understanding of how he did this in his own campaign. Using a foundation built on three major plot arcs he illustrates
how this structure allows for a robust, satisfying and complex long term campaign. This was something I took to heart and I decided that I was going to give it a shot. So below I have included the role of the heroes as well as my three major plot arcs I have planned for this campaign.

If you happen to be a a player in my group I would please ask that you stop reading now! What follows will ruin the fun for you as I plan to reveal what I've planned as my major plot seeds for "The Saint's of Los Angeles" Campaign.

The Role of the Heroes

The Saints of Los Angeles Campaign is a space opera set in mankind’s far future. The PC's are heroes in a universe that is dominated by war, social injustice, and intrigue. As the crew of the space freighter Los Angeles, the PC's will travel through space and explore the galaxy, discover its mysteries, meet unique people, battle hostile aliens, and take on many exciting and dangerous missions. Hopefully during this the PC's will be able to live up to their destiny and calling as heroes and the true “Saints” of a galaxy in dire need of them.

The Campaign Arcs

  1. War Story Arc: War erupts in the Tempest System when a ferocious alien race bent on conquering mankind suddenly appears from the distant reaches of space. This brutal and intelligent race once controlled vast regions of Protectorate territories. However, a civil war millennia ago forced them to abandon the area. Their Empire now revitalized and engorged with a variety of alien slave races seeks to reassert its power and influence over its former territories. However, this race has sorely underestimated their human foe and during their long absence mankind has grown to become a formidable adversary in its own right. The result will no doubt be a war of epic proportions.

  2. Intrigue Story Arc:  Unknown to most the Eclipse Corporation is one of the most powerful organizations in the Empire. The true architects behind the Eclipse Corporation's success and it's low key stature are "The Founders". This ancient cabal of unseen secret masters conspire to manipulate events from behind the scenes for their own inscrutable goals. Eclipse Corporation's CEO and the patriarch of the eccentric Ashton family works as  "The Founders" principle pawn and voice while they push their mysterious agenda from behind the scenes. Chief among "The Founders" preoccupations are Eclipse Corporation's black laboratories. Hidden from the public eye, a myriad of vile and thoroughly illegal experiments take place in numerous asylums and research facilities throughout the galaxy.

  3. Political Story Arc: It is a time of civil unrest. Politicians, crime syndicates, corporations and religious leaders play a dangerous game as they manoeuvre against one another to gain the upper hand in the political arena while promoting their own agendas and best interests. Leviticus Wu, the elusive and charismatic leader of SUNRISE, a growing underground militant political group attempting to over throw the galaxy wide Protectorate government. A government they claim is dominated by corruption, the rich, and the interests of massive corporations. In turn Lord Protector Hektor Tanaka, the official leader of the Protectorate has labeled SUNRISE, a terrorist group, and seeks to eradicate any trace of it. SUNRISE's goal is to form a new government that allows the people to create a new democratic society free from the invisible prison made by the corruption, nepotism, and the powerful rich. Complicating matters is the rapidly and increasingly powerful influence of of the Church of the Holy Resurrection. This Church, loosely based on the Old Earth Catholic Church has discovered a way to offer true and ever lasting life to its devout followers and because of this has become a powerful political player.