Archive for June, 2014

   

In the mid 80’s I cut my Role-Playing teeth on Dungeons & Dragons. It wasn’t until 1988 or 89 that I discovered GURPS at Games Unlimited in Concord, California. It remains one of my favorite Role-Playing Games of all time. GURPS stands for Generic Universal Role-Playing System and, in my opinion, lives up to the name. Using the system I’ve played high fantasy, low fantasy, sci-fi, wild west, swashbuckling pirates, super heroes, and the list goes on. I run into people frequently who seem to despise GURPS. I don’t really understand why. I hear their rants, smile, nod, and promptly forget them. (So, if you’re one of the GURPS haters, please feel free to no post a reply. I really don’t care.) The purpose of this post is not to convince non-RPGers to play, nor to convince non-GURPS players to try it (thought that would be cool). It’s my blog, and I’ve been re-reading GURPS Fantasy 4th Ed. and I just wanted to write about the game. As I said, it’s my blog, and honestly I really don’t care if no one reads it…so there.

Where was I? Oh yea. GURPS is a game that allows players to try any genre imaginable. GURPS is a creative GM’s dream come true. As I mentioned above, the impetus to this article was my re-reading of the GURPS Fantasy supplement. Frankly, I’ve always had more fun creating worlds than running adventures in them. I have over twenty fully formed worlds that have never seen game play. I pull them out every once in a while, just to read through them, gaze at the maps and occasionally, rarely to make adjustments. These are my worlds. I made them. For my own good pleasure.

As a rabbit trail, I happen to be a Christian of the Evangelical Calvinist persuasion. This concept of creating a world simply for my pleasure happens to also be entirely in keeping with my theological view of God, the Cosmos, Reality, and humanity’s relationship to all of the above.

As previously stated, GURPS is a creative GMs dream. The 4th edition Fantasy supplement does for the Fantasy game what even the 3rd ed. Space supplement did for Sci-Fi. Inside it’s leaves is a robust guide to creating a fantasy world that makes sense. I’ve read (and written) an innumerable amount of articles and pdf booklets on the topic of fantasy world building. GURPS Fantasy 4th Ed. combines most of that into one neat package. I’ll add that GURPS Space does the same for Sci-Fi. And the plethora of books and online resources is absolutely amazing.

While GURPS doesn’t hold for me the same nostalgia that D&D and AD&D 1E do, it is still by far one of my favorite RPG systems.

Hull Zero Three

Posted: June 10, 2014 in Books

I used to feel guilty about not finishing a book. Not any more. Some years ago I read a book on reading (kinda meta) which, among other things, advocated for giving oneself the right to not finish books. The method recommended was to subtract ones age from one-hundred and read that far into the book. If the book hasn’t grabbed your attention by then, drop it and move on. Part of the idea is the older you get, the less time you have to waste on literature which doesn’t speak to you. (It also means that when you reach 100, you have permission to judge a book by its cover.)

That brings me to Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear. I read a great review on it and noticing it was in my local public library I checked it out. I’ve read other books by Bear and enjoyed most of them. This one just didn’t move me. It’s probably just me, and the place I am in life right now. I’ve found that lately I’ve enjoyed more action/adventure (be it fantasy, sci-fi, cliffhanger, etc.) and cozy mysteries. This book is neither. I really wanted to like it (I pressed on to page 223), but it’s just too strange for me right now.

I shall be returning it to my library and trying another.

Phone Booths

Posted: June 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

 

Why is it we (I include myself) feel the need to yell into our mobile phones. The other day at the Library a gentleman took a call. He stepped out into the lobby of the library, but proceeded to speak at such a volume that I could hear him fifty feet away – and I have a mid-range hearing deficiency! On that same note, it is very difficult for me to hear people on a cell phone when there’s background noise. That’s probably why I (and maybe many others) yell into our phones. We can’t hear you, so we speak louder to make you can hear us. The following picture is, I think, a great idea. I’d like to see more of these, not just in office spaces, but about town as well … libraries, air ports, subway stations, even on the street.

CellPhoneBooth

Besides, with the rise and cell phone and decline of the pay phone Superman is really hurting for places to change. This would solve two important issues of modern society.