Kickspamming Nefertiti Overdrive

Possible Cover for Nefertiti OverdriveFilling up my social media with so many reminders that the Kickstarter for Nefertiti Overdrive is almost over that it feels like spamming.

Then again, we’ve got just over a day to go and just under $3,000 to raise, so I’m trying hard to get the word out and get people on board for flying spin kicks and assorted bad-assery in Ancient Egypt.

You can support Nefertiti Overdrive here.

You can learn more about Nefertiti Overdrive here and here.

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Nefertiti Overdrive Testdrive

Nefertiti Overdrive CoverI’m planning to run two sessions of Nefertiti Overdrive on Google Hangout using the Roll20 app. This is a chance to testdrive the system if you’ve been unsure if this is something you want to support.

Though, honestly, if you are here, I would really, really hope you want to support me creating cool stuff.

The catch is you will need to back the Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarter at the Acolyte of the Scarab level (the level for getting the PDF). If you decide you don’t want to support the game after the testdrive, you can cancel your pledge at any time.

So if you want to kick badguys in the face in Ancient Egypt, and you are free next week on Monday or Wednesday evening (Eastern Standard Time), go back Nefertiti Overdrive and get in on the action.

Cross-posted to Sword’s Edge Publishing

You can find the Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarter here.

You can find Roll20 here.

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The Music of Creation

I’ve been working a lot on Nefertiti Overdrive, and I’m almost always listening to music when I do so. I have my “Centurion playlist,” the music to which I listened when I worked on Centurion: Legionaries of Rome. I’ve added one album to that playlist, but it’s still doing its work.

Kind of like setting up a regular schedule to write so that your brain starts to shift into creative at a specific time as butt hits seat and fingers hit keyboard, I think music can also play a part. Or maybe it’s just psychosomatic. I really don’t care. What I care is that when I start listening to the music, my brain shifts into creative mode and I tend to be very productive.
The entire playlist is composed of soundtracks – more specifically, scores. And the majority of those albums are composed by Hans Zimmer, either entirely or with another composer. I think part of what I like about Hans Zimmer – I mean, along with his ability and skill – is his use of non-Western instrumentations and techniques. While I absolutely adore John Barry’s score for the Black Hole, it is very traditional. While there is much traditional in the scores for Black Hawk Down or Gladiator, Hans Zimmer also includes much that is very different, and I think he does so with great skill.

So, in case you are wondering, the Centurion playlist includes:

Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, Tears of the Sun by Hans Zimmer

The Black Hole, by John Barry

Troy, by James Horner

Tron: Legacy by Daft Punk

The new addition is another Hans Zimmer soundtrack, Man of Steel.

You can support Nefertiti Overdrive here.

You can learn more about Nefertiti Overdrive here and here.


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Gender Roles and Nefertiti Overdrive

Possible Cover for Nefertiti OverdriveI put an update up over at the Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarter page about the use of alternate characters and genders. For those of you not backing Nefertiti Overdrive yet (wait, you haven’t back my Kickstarter yet? Thanks. Thanks a lot) this is what I wrote:

If you’ve downloaded the preview characters (the link is in Update #1, available only to backers) you will have seen that each character has an alternate of the opposite gender. Sometimes, the name has been changed (from Princess to Priest), sometimes it’s just the backstory (the Spartan and the Spartan) and some are greater diversions (the Amazon and the Scythian or the Monk and the Keralite).

I know that many role-players are cool playing whatever gender (my all-male group in Ottawa is playing an all-female PC group), but sometimes people have likes or dislikes when it comes to genders. The alternate characters allow players to choose a role without worrying about the gender. If a guy wants to play the Leader, but doesn’t want to play a female PC, he can play the Priest.

But there are no mechanical differences. Those Qualities and their ranks are linked to the roles, not the genders. I’m not necessarily trying to make a statement, I just want to make it easy for everyone to play in a way that is comfortable for them. The adventure “Crossing the Millers” for Sword Noir has a love triangle at its centre, but I try to stress in the opening that the genders and sexuality of the characters are fluid – they have defaults, but the important parts are their roles and their relationships.

I’ve been able to do one better here, by providing both genders.

Now, go back my Kickstarter! Do it now!

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Review: the Grandmaster

I haven’t written about the Grandmaster, the new movie about Ip Man directed by Wong Kar Wai. I watched it, I loved it, and I really want to see it again because I watched it on a seat-back monitor on the flight back to Canada from South Korea. Watching it at that size is absolutely sub-optimal – and that’s being generous.

Even on the tiny little monitor – I think it was smaller than the screen on my 10″ tablet – the beauty of the scene compositions was obvious. The cast – Tony Leung as Ip Man and Zhang Ziyi as Gong Er, the daughter of the “Northern Master,” were the two most notable – was great and the fight choreography was by Yuen Woo-ping, perhaps the greatest working fight choreographer on the planet. Excuse the hyperbole, but dude really is tight.

I was asked if this was as good as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, definitely the most famous wuxia movie worldwide. It gave me pause and led me to reflect on the strengths of the two movies and the two directors.

Yuen Woo-ping choreographed both movies, and I think the fight scenes were certainly comparable. The Grandmaster might have a slight leg up just because Yuen Woo-ping has had to bring something new to the table with each new movie, so I think he worked harder giving the Grandmaster action and moves not previously seen.

I think Ang Lee, the director of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, is a better director of actors, and I think the performances he directed are superior to those in the Grandmaster. Wong Kar Wai, in my opinion, is a better visualist, and I believe the Grandmaster is a much more beautiful movie than CT:HD. That is not to say that the Grandmaster has bad acting or that CT:HD isn’t beautiful, because both statements are provably wrong, however each movie has a strength and for the Grandmaster, that is the visuals.

If you dig kung-fu fighting and want to see a pretty moving, gorgeously wrought motion picture, I recommend the Grandmaster. I give it 4.5 fists in rain out of 5.

You can learn more about the Grandmaster here.

You can learn more about Crouching Tiger: Hidden Dragon here.

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XBox Frozen Music

Frozen Movie PosterAbout the only good thing about Windows 8 in my opinion is the XBox Music app that is included with it. It basically allows one to search for music and listen to it as long as one is on-line. I’ve got a few playlists through XBox Music, and I even purchased the Man of Steel soundtrack through it, although I stopped purchasing songs through it as while I appreciate the ability to listen to music free, XBox Music is more expensive than iTunes, so that’s where I’m purchasing music. If XBox Music has competitive pricing, I’d be buying all my music through it.

The downside? As I write this, I’m listen to the Frozen Soundtrack. Better than Celine Dion, which my girls unfortunately demand on a continuous basis. If Frozen is the price I pay for avoiding Celine Dion, I am totally okay with that.

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Review: the Archer – Fugitive from the Empire

During my trip, I’ve had a chance to view some movies I otherwise likely wouldn’t have. One of those was an old pilot from way back called the Archer: Fugitive from the Empire. It was an attempt to do a sword & sorcery TV series, but it failed mightily.

It pretty much failed on every level.

The story is something about an exiled prince seeking a legendary sorcerer with a thief hanging around for no good reason and a hot sorceress who – of course – loves the hero but is working at cross-purposes.

Now, the lead actor and the hot sorceress both left me cold. They really didn’t deliver on anything other than generic good looks, the thief was played as a stereotypical Mediterranean-type, which was kind of racist in that ignorant way TV had with such things in the 1970s, but at least the actor had some charisma and made the character fun.

The supposedly super-cool magical longbow was okay in concept. It basically turned a bow into a cross between and anti-material rifle with explosive ammo and a rocket launcher. Yeah, cool, but the bow from the Ranger in the D&D cartoon was still cooler.

The story wasn’t incomprehensible, so it wasn’t a complete waste of time – as a counter-example, I tried to watch 1979′s Starcrash and gave up after about 20 minutes. It had precious little inspiration to offer. Maybe back in the late 1970s, if you had just started playing D&D, this might have offered some ideas, but there’s a lot of bad fantasy movies that have come since that are more interesting and better inspiration.

If you, like me, remembered this pilot from when it first aired (yes, I am old enough to remember the dinosaurs walked the Earth), do yourself a favour and avoid trying to see if this lives up to your memories. Unless your memories were that this was a tedious waste of time, the reality likely won’t live up to them.

I give the Archer: Fugitive from the Empire 2 bazooka arrows out of 5.

You can find out more about the Archer: Fugitive from the Empire here. There’s a Wikipedia page in German here.

You can find out more about the D&D cartoon here.

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