Showing posts with label Star Trek. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Star Trek. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Review: Traveller: The New Era (1993)

Traveller: The New Era
"Don't stop thinking about tomorrow
Don't stop, it'll soon be here
It'll be better than before
Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone."

Fleetwood Mac's 1977 hit "Don't Stop" came out the same year as Classic Traveller.  It was also, more or less, the theme that covered the intro the 1990s.  Newly elected Bill Clinton had used it as his campaign theme song and even Fleetwood Mac got back together long enough to play it at his inaugural ball in 1993.  Think about the start of the 90s for a second.  Everything seemed possible then.  I was in Grad School, working part-time (only 60 hours a week) for the Navy writing code. I was taking classes, and teaching. I had broken up with my long-time girlfriend and soon started dating someone who would in just a few more years be my wife!  So yeah the future was full of endless possibilities in 1993.

Traveller: The New Era feels like the most "1993" game ever.  Tomorrow was here and Yesterday (Classic Traveller if you will) was gone. 

For this review, I am only considering the PDF I just downloaded from DriveThruRPG.  My original one was corrupted and I was wondering if I was even going to get to do this one today.  I saw the PDF in DT was updated back 2014, so I grabbed a new one.  Glad I did.  I remember my first one was very hard to read and the text was blurry.  This new one is much clearer. I also recall that some of the pages had a green background, this one does not.

Traveller: The New Era (1993)

PDF. 386 pages, color covers, black & white interior art.  Oddly there are no PDF bookmarks in this file. The book is also available as a softcover PoD.  I have no idea which printing this is. I understand the first printing had a few errors. 

This book is a beast. I think (not 100% sure) that this was a boxed set of different books. 

One of the first things I noticed about this edition is that Frank Chadwick and Dave Nilsen are listed for Game Design and Marc Millar is only listed for Design of the previous version of Traveller.  I remember some of this back in the day, but for now, I am going to focus on just what is in the book. 

The book is divided up into various large sections. The table of contents seems to deny my guess that this pdf was separate books at one point. Ok, no problem.

Introduction (and History)

This is our introduction to the Traveller Universe. The History section is the most important for this edition since it sets up how this is different than the previous editions.  For starters, the Imperium has completely collapsed.  Classic Traveller was taking place roughly around 1110 of the Imperial Calendar. MegaTraveller dealt with the aftermath of the Emperor's assassination in 1116.  This Traveller jumps ahead by 85 or so years to the 1201 "The New Era."  Honestly from a design/edition perspective, this makes a lot of sense. 

It is a neat background and welcome (in a manner of speaking) to older players but new players likely won't care about this.  The "world" of TNE is very different than that of MegaTraveller of Classic Traveller. Even at just a few pages it is still more background than we got in the LBB of Classic. 

Characters

Character creation in TNE feels similar and different at the same time. You are still rolling 2d6, though now it is a 2d6-1. This changed the average from 7 to 6. There are still six attributes that are roughly the same. TNE has Strength, Agility, Constitution, Intelligence, Education, and Charisma. Classic Traveller had Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, and Social. So similar.  TNE also offers a point spread of 36 to distribute if you prefer.  We are still using the UPP, only now a 666666 denotes an average character instead of 777777. Abilities are determined, then the background generation begins.  Like previous versions of Traveller, you decide on a homeworld (which can affect some abilities) and work out your starting careers.  

This version seems to have more careers than previous versions, but keep in mind I am only looking at core books for now. Character generation covers about 43 pages total. So quite a lot really.  NPCs cover about 8 pages, with a nice playing card system to determine motivations. 

The character creation rules now make no assumption of species or gender, so that is left to the player. Thre are 5 pages of alien templates to add to characters at the end of this section.  There are Hivers, Vargr, Aslan, Zhodani, and Droyne.  

The New Era

This covers what is, well, new for this version of Traveller's universe.  These are the AI Virus, the Star Vikings, and The Wilds.  I don't need to know much about Traveller or TNE to know these elements were not well received.  The Virus reads like how we looked at computer viruses in the 90s.  The flowchart looks like something you would find on a Mac Quadra 900 (btw I consider that a Feature, not a Bug).

I can see a smart AI virus attacking all sorts of computers, but even today we have good anti-virus software and still a couple of dozen operating systems (I count 7 or 8 different ones in my house alone) that do not transmit viruses to each other even when networked.

The Star Vikings seem like an inevitable addition to the game.  The Wilds, likewise.

All of this seems like an attempt to provide a little more chaos around the "edges" of the star systems.  That is, give the PCs more to do and ways to make it through or hinder them in some ways.

Referees

A little more than a quarter of the way through we hit the Referee's section.  The system seems closer to that of Traveller 2300 than it does of Classic Traveller or MegaTraveller. There are now d20 rolls added to the rules. Reading through in detail now there are a lot of d20 rolls. More details are given on how to make the rolls than I recall in MT or CT.

Skills are discussed in terms of what they can do. And the Referee gets some adventure ideas.  This section is only about 70 pages. I was expecting a bit more. 

Worlds & Travel

Now, this is a meaty section of about 100 pages. The world generation system feels similar-ish to other Traveller games, no point reinventing everything I guess. Though there is a lot more detail here.  It does look like it can create worlds much the same way as MegaTraveller.

This section also includes the Encounters and Animals sections from previous versions with some modifications.  Same with space travel. 

Interestingly enough the Psionics section, usually stuck into the back of the book, is now here. I still think it should be with Character creation, but ok. It is also expanded.  In the realm of purely new-to-a-core-rules material, there is a sections robots. Even if it tells us there are nearly no production facilities for robots still operational outside of the Spinward Marches in the New Era. 

Combat

The next nearly 100 pages deal with all forms of combat. From personal to space combat. The rules are updated and seem to cover most situations. Hard to tell without doing it. I am still thinking I need to run simulated combat for each version to see how they are.  Do something silly like a Borg Cube vs the Death Star or a Colonial Viper vs an X-Wing vs. a Buck Rogers Thunderfighter. 

Combat is different than other versions of Traveller.  

There is some advice here too on using minis in a game. Their recommendation is to paint them all white to make them easier to see.  "Step 5 Admire your Work" is something I do naturally!

USS Protector

Equipment & Technology

The section covers roughly 40 pages. I can't help but notice the effect that Star Trek: The Next Generation has seem to have had here.  Med bays and medical scanners look like they were taken from a Federation garage sale. Ok...it's not that bad. Excuse a little levity on my part here.  We still have a section on drugs. 

We are keeping the same assumptions (and rules) about Technology Levels which is still hanging out at TL 16.

Computers have fared a little better in this edition. At least the batteries of the future are closer to what we have right now. I hate to harp on this, but my phone today can do nearly everything on pages 340 to 343.  I am being unduly harsh here I know.

The section of Starships though once again fills my heart with longing for the stars.  Many of these I am familiar with.  You may not have been on the internet talking about Star Trek or starships, but I certainly was.

Crushing it
Flashback to when I called the ending to S2 of Picard nearly 30 years ago.

The last few pages are worksheets for Characters, Combat charts, and the Index.

--

So. My feeling on Traveller TNE is that it was an attempt to keep Traveller moving forward.

I have gone through the TNE book more and compared them to my "Gold Standard" the Traveller Book and I am now seeing a lot more differences in terms of rules than I did on my first couple of read-throughs.  This is the issue with reading a gamebook vs. playing the game.  Further research outside of this book lets me know that other GDW games of the time were using the same rules.  This is expected really.  Game companies began to discover that using one system in-house was much cheaper in the long run.  Not only did it mean you could hire fewer people to write, but you could also lift large sections of text from one game to fill in for another.  This does create an issue though.  There are two different writing "tones" here. I have no evidence but I am going to say the older-ish material was Frank Chadwick and the newer stuff was Dave Nilsen. 

Rereading the rules prior to this post it dawned on my why I felt so much of it was familiar. It was Traveller-speak, but the rules were an old favorite of mine Dark Conspiracy.  I rather liked that game back in the later 90s when I first encountered it and was looking for a new horror game to be my "home game" (spoiler, it was CJ Carrella's WitchCraft that won that battle!)

This an interesting idea though. Dark Conspiracy + Traveller The New Era would make for an interesting BlackStar-like game.  I am sure I am not the only one who did that.   Given the post-apoc feel of TNE I am not sure that hoards of undead would not feel so out of place, to be honest. 

So we have a system that the older players don't like and newer players can't get into in a setting that the older players hate and the newer players have no investment in.  Sound about right?

Still. There are some ideas here that I might mine.  I am glad I have the PDF but I am not picking up the PoD anytime soon.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Plays Well With Others: Horror in Space (BlackStar)

In space no one can hear you scream
It's Friday the 13th! Something of a holiday here at the Other Side.  

May is SciFi month and for the first two weeks here I have dedicated it all to Classic Traveller. I find myself at a bit of a crossroads.  Do I continue with the Classic Traveller OR do I go along to the progression from Classic to Mega Traveller and beyond?  Choices. Choices. 

In the mean time since today is the scariest day outside of October 31st (well, than and Walpurgis Night) let go to a discussion you all know I LOVE and that is horror in Space.  In particular, the Mythos flavored Cosmic Horror of Lovecraft AND the exploration of Space ala Star Trek.

Since I am going to look a few ways to do this I am going to put it under the banner of Plays Well With Others.

My "Star Trek meets Cthulhu" campaign is known as BlackStar and I have detailed the ideas I have had here.  

The game started out as a combination of various OSR-style games because that is what I was playing a lot at the time. But as time has gone on I have given it more thought and explored other RPG system options.  Every combination has its own features and its own problems.   Let's look at all the options I have been considering.

Basic Era/OSR

The first choice was the easy one really.  I went with the two main books for their maximum compatibility, Starships & Spacemen and Realms of Crawling Chaos.  Both are based for the most part on Labyrinth Lord.   This gives me a lot of advantages. For starters, and the obvious one, there is just so much stuff for this.  If I don't like the Cthulhu monsters from Realms, I can grab them from Deities & Demigods, Hyperborea, or so many more.  The Lovecraft/Cthulhu stuff is covered.  The "Weakest" link here is Starships & Spacemen.  Well, it's not weak, but it is not my favorite set of Trek-like RPG rules.

Starships & Spacemen & Shogoths

Given the rules, I could add in bits of Stars Without Number. That *might* fill out some of the rough spaces (for me) of S&S.  There is a lot, I mean really a LOT I can do with all of this.

It would also make running The Ghost Station of Inverness Five much easier. 

The Ghost Station of Inverness Five

D20 Systems

I'll admit it. I like d20. I enjoyed d20 games. There are LOT of options if I want to go 3.x d20.

d20 Games

Pathfinder, Starfinder, d20 Call of Cthulhu, Sandy Petersen's Cthulhu Mythos.  All of these are great and at least 90% compatible. Again, I am sick with riches when it comes to Cthulhu/Lovecraftian materials here. Starfinder is good...but it is not Star Trek.  In fact my preferred Sci-Fi d20 game is the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars.  I know. I am strange.  

Certainly, the d20 Cthulhu books would be easily converted to OSR, but they already have analogs in the OSR world.   But having all of these is certainly helpful.

Since my weakest link seems to be Trek-like rules, maybe what I need is a good set of Trek rules.

Star Trek RPGs

Currently, my two favorite flavors of the Star Trek RPG are the classic FASA Trek and the newest Mōdiphiüs' Star Trek Adventures.  Both are great. Both are really fun. AND there is even a Mythos/Lovecraftian game using the same system, Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20.  Now this game is set in WWII, but that is not a problem. 

Trek and Cthulhu

Here I have exactly the opposite issue.  There is a LOT of great Trek material and limited on Cthulhu/Lovecraft material.   I could add in material from Call of Cthulhu as needed. Also, I have the PDFs for Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 but none of the physical books. The 2d20 system is also much newer for me and I don't know it as well as some of the others.

Traveller

I have been talking about Traveller all month long and it would remiss of me not to try something with that.  Thankfully things are well covered there.

Traveller and Chthonian Stars

So I have not even touched ANYTHING yet regarding the Cepheus Engine or new Traveller, but to jump ahead a bit there is a game setting for Traveller Chthonian Stars. It takes place in 2159 (a date I can use!) and there is a lot to it, but the basic gist is Humankind has begun to explore the Solar System and that is about it.  Then we introduce Cthulhu Mythos material to that!  Sounds a bit like BlackStar: The First Generation.  I'll get a proper review up later in the month, but there are a lot of great things in this setting.  Reading over it it really makes me want to try this using just Traveller.  They really make it work well.  Plus I could still use the Classic Traveller system, more or less.

This provides me with a solid sci-fi game with great mythos support too. The publisher has since updated this game to their more inhouse version called The Void. Not sure if it uses the same system as their Cthulhu Tech RPG or not. 

The Expanse RPG
AGE System

I really love Green Ronin's AGE system. I also LOVE the Expanse.  So I grabbed their Expanse AGE-based RPG and am hoping to do a lot more with it.  So imagine my delight when they ran a Kickstarter for Cthulhu Awakens an AGE-based Mythos game.   The Solar System spanning of the Expanse is nowhere near the Galaxy spanning of Star Trek, but maybe I could run it as a "Prequel" game.  Get a ship out to Pluto to discover something protomolecule-like but instead make it mythos-related.  A prequel to my Whispers in the Outer Darkness.  A Star Trek DY-100 class pre-warp ship would fit right in with the ships of the Expanse.  I should point out that the Expanse takes place in the 2350s, the same time frame as my proposed BlackStar campaign in the Star Trek timeline. 2352 for the launch of the Protector and 2351 for the Expanse RPG.

Maybe this "First Mission" might explain why Star Fleet is building its experimental ships at Neptune Station and not Utopia Planitia.  There is something they discovered on Yuggoth/Pluto that makes the Warp-13 engines work. There is my protomolecule connection!

It is possible I could retweak my "At the Planets of Maddness" for this system/setting. Though in my heart I really wanted Shoggoths and Elder Things for that adventure.  Pluto and Yuggoth clearly imply the involvement of the Mi-Go.

--

I have all those choices listed above and that is also not counting games like Eldritch Skies that also combine space travel with Cthulhu/Mythos.

Chthonian Stars might have an answer for me.  What if this story is not being played out over a single campaign, but multiple lifetimes?

I could do something like this.  Note, this is only a half-baked idea at this point.  

Victorian Era:  Scientists work out the means of travelling the Aether to the stars. (Ghosts of Albion*, Eldritch Skies, Space: 1899. Using Ghosts to make the Protector connections a little clearer).

1930s: Scientist found dead with brain "Scoped" out. Investigate. (Call of Cthulhu)

2150s: Travel to Yuggoth discover an advanced civilization was once there.  Items from 1890s and 1930s are there. (Expanse, Chthonian Stars, Cthulhu Awakens)

2290s: Star Trek Mercy (this one is pure FASA Star Trek). Maybe this can be the one with the Klingon Skelleton ala The Creeping Flesh.

2350s: These are the Voyages of the Experimental Starship Protector. (OSR or Mōdiphiüs 2d20)

I could even do an epilogue in the far future of the Imperium.  

And some other stuff to include all my BlackStar adventures.

Maybe all of these are tied to the "Black Star" an artifact that makes space travel possible and is at the core of the Asymetric Warp-13 engine?  Some was found on Earth but there is a bunch of it on Pluto.

Too many ideas, too many systems.  Gotta narrow it all down at some point.  But one thing is for sure, the system used will depend on what sorts of adventures the characters will have. Mōdiphiüs 2d20 is best for adventures and exploring. OSR games are good for monster hunting. FASA Trek does a little of both.  AGE would be suit the New Adventures in Space theme well.

Friday, November 19, 2021

BlackStar: The Ambassador Curse

Ambassador Class Starship
Last night was the premiere of Star Trek Discovery Season 4.  Not only that we also had a new episode of the Kid-focused (but adult enjoyed) Star Trek Prodigy.  Two new Trek episodes from different series on the same day.   That has not happened since Voyager and DS9 were on the air in 1999.

Both episodes had a similar plot element, though dealt with in very different ways.  On Discovery they are recovering from "The Burn" which destroyed all dilithium in use a little over a hundred years ago.  The new Federation president (who looks like she might have some Cardassian DNA) mentioned that there were ongoing Warp Drive developments.   She mentioned a new version of Discovery's Spore Drive and that a new Pathway drive had been developed and placed into the new Voyager.

Over on Prodigy, which shares the Voyager connection, we learn that the USS Protostar is more than just a neat name.  Its warp drive is not just powered by an anti-matter reactor, it has in its heart an actual protostar. 

There is a constant level of warp drive development going on in Star Trek. But the Spore Drive has proven difficult to get right or recreate, Trans Warp was a failure, and slipstream conduits are difficult to navigate.   

All of this and one other bit of information I recently unearthed sets the stage very nicely for what is going on in BlackStar.  

Let me restate something I said back in 2019. 

We don't see many Ambassador class ships in the TNG time-frame, why? I am going to say there was a design flaw that was later discovered after Starfleet Corp of Engineers went over why the Ent-C was destroyed. There is a flaw in the nacelle arrangement that was missed in the R&D phase and only seen in practice. This lead to newer warp nacelle configuration that gave us the Galaxy and Nebula class ships. Despite living in the 24th century, human Starfleet personnel can still be somewhat superstitious and the Ambassador class gained the status of a "cursed ship".

This is also why there are 21 decommissioned Ambassador class ships outside of Neptune Station. Here, Commodore Peter Quincy Taggert, with a signed order from Admiral Nyota Uhura (who had been fond of the Ambassador class and hated to see them go to waste), began work on the Mystic Project. The NX-3100 (mislabeled on the hull as NX-3000 due to a clerical error) was developed at the Klatuu Nebula Yards in conjunction with the Theremin Science Council and launched to Earth on SD 30007.21. (2351 or there abouts)

We have 21 (or 22) decomed Ambassador ships over in the "junk yards" of Neptune Station. A prototype (the Mystic) was b

uilt at the Klatuu Nebula Yards by the Theremins.  A desire by Starfleet to work on new types of warp drive, BUT all available engineers are working on the super-sexy new Galaxy-class project over a Utopia Planitia on Mars.  This is why CDRE Taggert gets them.  No one else wants them. But why are they here?  I said due to a flaw in the nacelle arrangement.  I said this because I replaced the warp nacelles on my model.  But is there more?  

Enter my "I have too much work to do, but instead I am watching Star Trek Starship videos on YouTube" moment earlier this week.

Enter TriAngulum Audio Studios on YouTube. They have a series called "Truth or Beta" that discusses Star Trek "Alpha" content (for Memory Alpha, or cannon material named for the Memory Alpha planetoid that is the Federation Library and the first stop for the USS Protector) vs. "Beta" (for Memory Beta, non-cannon material that appears in books).  This series collects various bits of Alpha lore and select bits of Beta lore to make for a fuller picture of what is going on.  

Here is their series on what went wrong with the Ambassador class ship.


The premise is basically the same.  After the destruction of the Enterprise-C, the Ambassador class was given a top to bottom inspection.  Where I claimed it was the warp nacelles, here it is an issue with the new warp core and other systems with the older duotronic computers. If you look at the Enterprise-C computer screens you can see they look more like the ones from the Enterprise-A and B eras.  Whereas newer Ambassador class ships have the isolinear computers and the LCARS OS. 

That works for me too.  In any case it explains why we never saw a lot of the Ambassador class ships in the TNG Era despite the class having had an Enterprise among its numbers. It also explains why I can have a couple of dozen just sitting out by Neptune waiting to be used for something else.

Now I just need to get my reviews up of Star Trek 2d20 and Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 from Modiphius up. 

Friday, October 22, 2021

BlackStar: Whispers in the Outer Darkness

Soon after I posted my discussion on Aliens and Horror for use in sci-fi horror and in BlackStar in particular I found a wealth of information.  Here are the fruits of those findings.

Whisperer in the Outer Darkness

I see this as the "second" episode of the season after the two-parter "The Stars Are Right" that introduces the Cthulhuoid Horrors we share space with. 

The crew gets new orders from Starfleet.  They are to pick up a professor Alyson Wilmarth.  While setting up a new subspace relay on Pluto the Starfleet Corp of Engineers uncover two startling discoveries.  The first is the remains of a Tellarite survey team that dates back to the early 20th Century, circa 1930-31.  The second is what the Tellarite's were investigating.  The remains of a small outpost of any unknown civilization that dates back to 12 million years ago.  Among the remains are a frozen Danuvius guggenmosi, a human ancestor from the Miocene.   Artifacts from the civilization bear a resemblance to other artifacts found on Earth in the Andes, Appalachians, and Himalayas mountain ranges.  Dr. Wilmarth is an expert on these.

Naturally, Starfleet contacted Tellar Prime about this to see what they knew, and maybe figure out what they were doing on Pluto in the 1930s.  This puts Dr. Wilmarth in contact with Dr. Akeley, her counterpart in the Tellarite College of Exoarcheology.  Dr. Wilmarth was scheduled to take a sabbatical and head to Tellar Prime when the term was done.  Dr. Akeley, in typical Tellarite fashion claims he can't wait for her and takes their data and heads out to a remote system he thinks has the answers.

Once on Tellar Prime, we learn that the Tellarite name for Pluto is Yuggoth, though they claim that name was not one they made up, but what they were able to decipher.  Much like Earth, there is evidence of this unknown species having lived on Tellar Prime, the 5th planet on the 61 Cygni/Tellar system.  The Tellarites wanted to know how artifacts from Yuggoth got to Tellar Prime.

The crew, with Dr. Wilmarth still in tow, head out for the remote system discovered by Dr. Akeley.

<<I'll add some bits about getting to the planet, the tech on the planet here.>>

They discover Dr. Akeley, but he is acting with a flat affect is very polite to everyone (should be a dead giveaway that something is wrong).  He claims to have been in contact with the civilization, the Mi-Go, and they are friendly and only wish to share their secrets of over 70 million years of space travel with the Federation.  Akeley of course has stayed hidden in the shadows this whole time.  When he is confronted they will discover the entire back of his skull has been opened and "scooped" out.  His brain and eyes are gone.  The look is similar to the original Tellarite masks on The Original Series that made their eyes look like they were missing.  Only a tiny device is left in his otherwise empty skull.  It is apparently "piloting" the body.

Here the ship is attacked by Mi-Go.  They can't appear on sensors and are only known by the gravity they displace when they land on any deck with artificial gravity. 

I am certainly going to use some ideas from Forbidden World even if it is just to model a Mi-Go creature from the movie poster.  I like the idea of a human/Mi-Go hybrid that can talk.  Maybe it will have Dr. Akeley's or even Dr. Wilmarth's face.  Recreate the poster art, but not the movie, Galaxy of Terror.

I still need to come up with a resolution for this. What do the Mi-Go want? How does the crew "defeat" them? Still need to work out those details as well.

This will be a good test of Star Trek Adventures mixed with Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 both from Mōdiphiüs.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

BlackStar: Horror in Space. Children of Earth, Cardassians, and Aliens

Plain, simple Garak
Plain and simple Garak

In many RPGs, the enemies are easy to figure out.  In *most* horror RPGs the bad guys are the supernatural creatures.  If you are playing Buffy for example then you are going to be hunting vampires.  Now it is also fun to "flip the script" so in the various World of Darkness Vampire games you are the vampire.  You are still the monster, but you have some more control over that evil.  In "Ordinary World" in NIGHT SHIFT you can play a supernatural creature, but you are not the bad person, you are "just a person" trying to get by in a world full of mortgages, jobs, oh and neighbors that might want to kill you.

In many fantasy games there are plenty of other monsters that want to kill you. We might be getting away from orcs (thank goodness) and goblins (have not used them as "bad guys" in over a decade or two) but there are still plenty of evil dragons, beholders, and of course demons and devils. 

Sci-Fi games tend to fall into the same sort of tropes.  Only this time it is whatever aliens are the focus.

I want to talk about three different sorts of aliens, all considered to be enemy species, but handled in different ways.

First are the Cardassians.  Introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation and really got the focus in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  The Cardassians are humanoid (this is important later) and come from the world of Cardassia.  They had occupied the nearby Bajor in a very clear analog to fascist Germany occupying France.  The Cardassians are never painted as irredeemably evil. Yes, many of them are in fact evil, but there are some that are not.  They are also depicted as highly intelligent, organized, and utterly brutal.  For most of the seven seasons on DS9, they were the bad guys.  Each step forward (oh look they love their kids) is reversed (oh, but they slaughter Bajoran orphans).  They are richly detailed and complicated, but always a foe to stand up to.  They are not an existential threat though to anyone but the Bajorans.  They are not even "supernatural" threats until the very, very end when Gul Dukat (a Cardassian and our main bag guy since Season 1) is possessed by the Kosst Amojan, the literal Bajoran devil. 

The 456
The other alien race is known only as the 456, for the frequency they contact Earth on in Torchwood: Children of Earth.   The Nazi connections with the Cardassians are intended, and not designed to be subtle.  These aliens are also not subtle; they steal human children and graft them into their own bodies because the chemicals the children create feels good to them.  They are back because they want more kids.  These creatures are never seen clearly, we never learn their name, their language, or even where they are from. Only that they want our children and they have the means to get them.  They are properly scary.  But. Do they make for a good "big bad?"  I don't think so.  They have one trick; stealing children.  While that is good enough for a fairy tale witch, the witch usually gets tossed into the oven at the end.  The 456 get sent back to their planet/ship or are destroyed much in the same manner when Capt. Jack Harkness feeds their communication signal back on them and killing his own grandson in the process.

The last is the Xenomorph from the Aliens franchise.  Alien is a true horror film in space, right down to a monster stalking everyone to a "final girl" in Ellen Ripley.  Aliens is sci-fi adventure.  I have lost track of how many Traveller games I saw in the 80s that were more or less a riff on the Aliens movie.  Again these guys are properly scary.  One on a ship is a true horror. Hundreds on a planet can take out a bunch of Marines.   The trouble with the Xenomorph is there is little to no mystery about them anymore.  In the original movies they were mindless, insectlike killing machines.  In future movies they...well I am still not 100% sure what Alien Covenant was about or Prometheus, though I did enjoy them.  The "Shared universe" of Alien, Blade Runner, and Predator though does give me a lot to game with. 

Use In BlackStar

The issue for me is not just "do these aliens make for a good scary monster?" They do.  The real question is "will they work for me and my particular game?"

I mean this is no different than any other game or setting.  Let's take an odd example.  Orcs in Ravenloft.  I originally did not want to do orcs, a classic D&D/Fantasy monster, in my Ravenloft games.  When it came up that I needed an orc-like monster I went with something more akin to a Grimlock or even a Neanderthal-Troglodyte (in the classical sense of the word) creature.  I made it work AND it also made me want to redo the troglodyte from D&D to make them more "devolved" human. Like the old Homo Sapiens Troglodytes. Maybe even a cross between H.S. and the Pan Troglodytes

But what about BlackStar which happens in a Star Trek universe. Well oddly enough that rules out the Cardassians. We know what they were doing at the time in Universe, they were at war with the Federation.  So I will have that going on, but in the far background.  They are on the far side of the Alpha Quadrant. My action is closer to home and might even take tiny little excursions into the Beta Quadrant.

The Xenomorphs would be fun for an "Episode" (what I am calling a single adventure) but not a "Season" (a campaign).  Same with the 456.

Originally I WAS thinking the 456 would be my focus as the bogeyman alien in the background.  But having a couple of conversations with my oldest he was like "why not just use the Mi-Go?"

He has a point.

There are a lot of great reasons to use them not just for the Lovecraftian origin.  They would have had an outpost on Yuggoth/Pluto that I absolutely LOVE.  It fits in with my ideas when watching the Thing and the various horror movies on Mars

I mean if I am going to do "Cthulhu meets Star Trek" then I kinda need to have appearances by the Mi-Go, Elder Things, Shoggoths, and Yithians.  They were described as "Alien" but I think I want to use them in the "Alien" sense of both Lovecraft AND of Trek.   The Mi-Go could take the place of the Borg in terms of a lifeform that can't be reasoned with and have their own, completely separate, morality. 

Given that my preferred version of Trek for this is Modiphius' Star Trek Adventures this makes things pretty easy for me.  I can now use ideas and stats from the new Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 system. 

But system and stats are only the start of the conversation, not the end.  I have to make sure these guys are scary.  Mi-Go landing on the hull of The Protector while not wearing EV suits and cutting through (like the Borg did) is scary.  Leaving behind dead crew with their brains surgically removed (not unlike "Spock's Brain", but less...bad) is a little more horrifying.   Finding crew members whose livers have been altered to create a sort of super-acid that eats through their bodies but keeps on working is more horrifying still. The Mi-Go don't communicate. Their chitterings are unable to be translated.  Since they are reported as not being able to be filmed or photographed they are largely invisible to sensors; having natural stealth abilities. 

I could introduce them much in the same way we saw in "At The Mountains of Madness" only this time they are discovered on Pluto/Yuggoth.  This leads to discoveries of bases on Earth, millions of years old, in the Andes, Appalachians, and Himalayas mountain ranges. How to get the crew out into deeper space to encounter them is the bridge I have not built yet.  

Frankly, I am overwhelmed with the potential. 

ETA:  I have found some more data that puts the Mi-Go origin, or at least another base of operations, at 61 Cygni, about 11.4 light-years away.  64 hours at classical Warp 9, but only 19 hours at The Protector's Warp 13.  In Star Trek, this is also the home of the Tellarites.  So obviously the Mi-Go visited them as well.

I will take a completely different approach in my Star Trek: Mercy game.

The Aliens

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The New Golden Age of Star Trek

I have often thought that I was not doing a horror/old-school/vampire/witch sort of blog I'd be doing a Star Trek one.  I am that obsessed.  Thankfully for me there already is a great blog that does Star Trek and Doctor and more; TARDIS Captain.

Even so, I can't help but be excited for all the great new Star Trek heading my way.

Star Trek Day 2021

Here are the previews of all the upcoming Star Trek shows on Paramount+.



I am very excited!

Saturday, August 7, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 Day 7 Inspiration

RPGaDAY2021 Day 7

Going with another alternate word today.

Day 7 Inspiration

Every so often I get asked what sort of things inspire me.  I usually half-jokingly say 70s metal, cheesy horror movies, and comics.

Only half-jokingly because there is a not-so-small amount of material in my bibliography of published material and blog posts that are exactly all of that.

Presently I am re-watching Star Trek Enterprise with my wife. We only saw bits and pieces of it when it was new, our kids were babies then, and keeping up on TV was not our main priority. 

So Enterprise takes place before The Original Series, thus the ship feels a little "low tech" and everything has a frontier feel to it.  While I am enjoying it for its own merits I am getting a ton of ideas for my two Star Trek campaigns; BlackStar and Mercy.  Season 1 deals with the Temporal Cold War and the Temporal Accords, which comes up later in Star Trek Discovery.  This is also putting back into the mood for a combined Star Trek/Doctor Who game which means FASA rules.  BUT inspiration aside I don't want to start YET another Trek game. I haven't even gotten the ones I am planning off the ground.

SO...maybe I can add some of these ideas to Mercy, BlackStar is a bit full as is.  Maybe I can add a character from the 31st century on my medical starship.  But why is he/she there?   Maybe I'll leave that to the player.  

Getting back to music for a bit, there is a song that has some solid Trek connotations to it.

One of my all-time favorite songs by the band Queen is '39.  Written by the guitarist, and Ph.D. in Astrophysics, Brian May.   The song deals with 20 astronauts that leave Earth on a one-year-long mission. One of the astronauts says goodbye to his wife and daughter, but due to the time dilation effects of moving near the speed of light, it is many, many years later when they return.  While he is "older but a year" his daughter is a grandmother now.   In the song, they had discovered a new world.

I have often thought it would be possible that later warp drive ships would run into older, slower relativistic ships with a crew that had left Earth decades if not a century before.  You see this played out really well in Arthur C. Clarke's The Songs of Distant Earth.   It was one of my favorite books of his and I loved the idea of "gritty" space travel and one very removed from the notion of warp drives.

Now we have seen visitors from the past in Trek before, TNG's first season episode "The Neutral Zone" has frozen humans from the late 20th century, the second season "The Emissary" with frozen Klingons, and the awkwardly named "The 37's" from Star Trek Voyager's second season with humans from 1937 found on a planet in the Delta Quadrant some 70k light-years from Earth. 

This would be an adventure for Mercy.  The starship Mercy gets a distress beacon from a ship that left Earth in 2139, just prior to the wide adoption of warp drive. Yeah, there are cargo ships that can go warp 1.8 or so, but most ships are going to be sleeper ships. Mercy, being Mercy, goes in to investigate and discovers a crew from 156 years ago.  Likely the ship, I might call the Arthur C. Clark, was headed to a planet that is now claimed by the Klingons, or Romulans, or some other species.  

I'll need to ponder this one a little more. In any case, I guess I'll keep looking for inspiration.


RPGaDAY2021


Friday, August 6, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 Day 6 Explore

RPGaDAY2021 Day 6

Going to go with an alternate word again. 

Day 6 Explore

Back on Day 2, I talked about maps. So I figured today would be a good one to go with Explore.

Exploration is a key factor in a lot of games.  In D&D and other FRPGs exploration is a key element in Hex Crawls. Even in games like Traveler and Star Trek exploration is a key element.

In truth, I don't do a lot of exploration these days in D&D. Most, no rather, all, my D&D games have a goal in mind.  When I ran Vault of the Drow a while back I did a lot of reading on what others have done with it in the past. There is a ton of material out there on exploring the area around the vault of the Drow.  Dragonsfoot alone has more material than I'd ever use in a lifetime. 

For my BlackStar game exploration is the name of the game.  Well, that and horror.  I think that is because in BlackStar I really don't have anything like a "big bad" save for all the horrors of space. I am also not sure what my end game for it is, maybe part of the exploration will be mine as well. 

Dungeons

Also, this month is all about Dungeons at the RPG Blog Carnival and hosted this month by Plastic Polyhedra.  Certainly, the Underdark of the Vault of the Drow qualifies and it would be fantastic to go exploring there one day.  


RPGaDAY2021

RPG Blog Carnival

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Star Trek musings, BlackStar and Mercy

Been in a bit of a creative rut when it comes to D&D and D&D-like games lately.  I get my best ideas when running and I have not been doing that in the morning due to the day job.

In the meantime, I have been thinking about my two Trek games BlackStar and Mercy.

For BlackStar I spent some money and had a 3D model designed for my ship, the USS Protector.  I got the STL file from the designer and had my youngest print them out on our resin printer.  The results?  Well, I have to say I am thrilled to death with them.

USS Protector, various scales

Looking now I see the blue resin one is a little hard to see.  The green resin one I painted with a light-gray/off-white "Corax White" from Citadel paints.

The painted/green resin/smallest is the largest size we can print with the ship length on the y axis.  The blue is the largest we can do with the ship length on the z axis.

I am actually pretty happy with both sizes to be honest.

The Protector and the Reliant

You can see the blue resin one better here.  The front of the saucer section was where it was connected to the build plate.  Connor raised it by a couple of mm and it looks much better.  I gave that one to my friend Greg for his birthday and his own Trek game.

The blue resin also looks like it is the same scale as this little USS Reliant model I have. I also have an Enterprise A that is very nearly the same scale.

The Enterprise D and the Protector

The smaller one matches the scale (nearly) of the Enterprise D model I have too. 

If I compare to this sizing, the Protector uses the same space frame as does the Ambassador Class Enterprise-C.

The Starships Enterprise

I said originally that the Protector was 700 meters, that looks like a typo to me.  I am now saying 600 meters, so still longer that than the Enterprise C.  Most of that is in the nacelles.

It's kinda cool to have my own little starships coming out of what is this century's version of the replicator.

Speaking of centuries.  I have been discussing my Mystoerth Timeline with some others and it is a little like sticking a square peg into a round hole.  But it is still nowhere near as bad as trying to get my Star Trek timeline to line up.   I am not talking about trying to figure out how to work things like Discovery and Axanar into the mix, I am talking about trying to figure out how Trek and real-world history can co-exist!

One of the bigger issues comes from the episode The Space Seed, the one that introduced Khan.  In the episode Khan was supposed to rise to power during the Eugenics Wars in the 1990s. He then left Earth on a DY-100 sleeper ship around 2018.  

uh...Ok.  Look. The Space Seed aired in 1967. No one at the time thought people would still be watching Trek in the 1990s, let alone new Star Treks on the air at that time. 

How do I fix this?  Thankfully I stumbled on a video that neatly solves this problem (and some others) for me.

Moving it all to 2090?  Well, that works out great for me to be honest.  But I might even fudge it a bit more and say it happened in 2067, 100 years after the episode aired. Though that is only 46 years from now!

We know that  Zefram Cochrane made his warp flight on April 4, 2063, but there had to be sleeper ships still in use.  It works. It is inelegant in a way, there are other dates I'll have to move, but for *my* Trek universe it is fine.

In any case, it might not even come up in my games, though I am sure Mercy will deal with something from the Eugenics Wars. It's just too fruitful of a playground not to do something with it. 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: Star Trek Adventures

Star Trek Adventures from Modiphius
It's the start of May!  Let's begin the new month like I have been doing all year long so far with a new character.

My "soft" theme for May is going to be Sci-Fi games.  I am dedicating all month to it, but a good portion of the month to be sure.  So for this I am starting with a the character I played WAY back in the day under FASA Trek.   I wanted to pull out my FASA Trek rules I got as a gift, but I forgot how damn involved character creation was for that game!  So instead I am going to pull out the newer Star Trek Adventures from Modiphius.

Plus I like the Star Ship creation rules from Modiphius.

While I am still excited about the prospect of doing my BlackStar game set in the 2350s, right now it is my "Starfleet Doctors Without Borders" idea, Mercy, set in 2295 that has me excited today.

Plus I needed to work some of the details of the titular starship, the NCC-3001 USS Mercy.

The Game: Star Trek Adventures (and some FASA Trek)

Star Trek Adventures has a lot going for it right now including a ton of material out there, support by the publisher and the rules don't have me reaching for the Tylenol.   At the same time there is a nice feel of continuity here.  I do feel like I could play any era of Trek I wanted and these rules would cover me.  Plus the Modiphius Trek has the advantage of me being able to add some material from John Carter of Mars and Dune if I later choose.  

If my only game was BlackStar then I'd add in some of the material from their new Achtung! Cthulhu 2d20 be done with it.   But Mercy needs something a little different and I am going to borrow heavily from FASA Star Trek on this one. BTW the 2d20 Achtung! Cthulhu looks amazing. I am going to grab it the moment I can.

FASA Trek had a more ship combat emphasis than Modiphius Trek does.  I think for my Star Trek Mercy game that will be important.  Not that the Mercy is going to fly into combat with phasers hot, but more like they will be needed in situations where there is plenty combat happening.  I am toying with the idea of the Orion Syndicate as the big bads, but no idea just yet.  

I do know that the captain of the Mercy will be a promoted FASA Trek Character.

The Character: Cmdr. Scott Elders, MD

Scott Elders was the CMO of the USS Andromeda, the last ship I used in FASA Trek all the way back in the later 1980s.  My game play covered the time between the TOS Movies and the TNG TV series.  So that is the time I like to think of him in. 

For Mercy he has been promoted to Commander and is now the "Captain" of his own ship, the newly christened USS Mercy, NCC 3001.  Second ship in the Asclepius Class medical starships.  Something of a cross between the Daedalus Class and the Olympic Class.  The ship is designed to be a state of the art (for 2295) medical transport and emergency response. 

Though I guess given the time the registry would be more like 25xx or something.

Before I get to the ship here is her Commander.

Scott Elders, Character sheet

I do like these character sheets.

The Ship: USS Mercy

The Mercy is a new ship. But unlike the Protector, she is built on tried and true technologies. 


Not a bad little ship.  


I'll do some more tinkering, but I like how these both are coming together.

Now I just need to kitbash or 3D print a Mercy starship!

Links


Star Trek Mercy


Thursday, February 4, 2021

Star Trek: Mercy and BlackStar Characters

One thing I wanted to accomplish with the recent Character Creation Challenge was to create characters that I could use in my War of the Witch Queens campaign AND get ideas for a multiverse of witches.

But that is not the only thing I wanted from it.

I also wanted to see the differences between various Star Trek-like systems in order to find good NPC for my BlackStar and Star Trek: Mercy games.

Of course, my main source is going to be the challenge founder Carl Stark at Tardis Captain's blog (and of course his Star Trek RPG page). 

Reading through all of these (and it has been great!) I am more convinced now that my Star Trek Mercy game needs to be a FASA Trek game while BlackStar can be something else; most likely Star Trek Adventures.

Star Trek: Mercy Title Card

Star Trek: Mercy

As I have mentioned previously Star Trek Mercy will take place aboard a Federation Hospital Ship.  Its mission is a bit like Doctors Without Borders; they fly into dangerous situations with the goal of helping.  While it is a Federation/Starfleet ship I am going to open up character choices to any and all Star Trek races.  So humans, Vulcans, Andorians will be expected, but also Romulans, Klingons, Deltans, even Gorn, and Orions if someone can give me a good reason.  These crew will not be members of Starfleet, they still belong to their respective worlds, but I also have to, want to, work within canon.  

For this, a few guidelines are needed.  No Klingon Starfleet officers. Worf was the first and the Federation and the Klingon Empire are at a period of cooled tensions.  They are not allies per see, but they are also not shooting at each other.  We know from the TNG episode "The Neutral Zone" that Romulans have not had any relations with the Federation since the Tomed Incident of 2311.  There is still a Romulan Ambassador on Earth in 2293.  That gives me 18 years' worth of gameplay.

I stated in my first post on this that 2295 would be a good year to set this in.  Seems like I was on to something.  I can even use the Plasma Plague of 2294 as the first mission of the Mercy. We even get a Stardate for it, 38235.3, though that date can't really work for 2294, it doesn't even work well for The Original Series Stardates. That date gives you Wed Feb 24 2360 for TNG and Tue Oct 28 2279 for TOS. Might need to use the FASA Trek Stardate calculations to make this one work!

Also since this is FASA Trek I can borrow some ideas from The Next Generation Officer's Manual.  In particular, the notion that there were a bunch of different uniforms in use. Gives me an excuse to use the ones I want.  These would be new here and old by the time the USS Protector and the Mystic-class ships roll out.

Star Trek Command Circa 2295

Star Trek Sciences Circa 2295

Star Trek Support Circa 2295

I am going to need a new ship design too.

What would also be nice is to work in some Original Series Apocrphya into my game; Saavik being half-Vulcan/half-Romulan, Chekov working for Starfleet Intelligence and a touring Chess Master (loosing to the Betazoids), Scotty as a Professor of Engineering at Starfleet Academy before getting lost near a Dyson Sphere in 2294, Sulu as the Captain of the Excelsior and Harriman as Captain of the Enterprise B. Uhura as Demora Sulu's Godmother. I would also like to find out more about Lt. Elise McKennah, played by Michele Specht in Star Trek Continues.

McCoy becoming an admiral, Spock continuing his role as Federation Ambassador, and Kirk disappearing on the Enterprise B. Though those are not really disputed. 

I like this idea since it is also the first Trek game my Star Trek loving wife has mentioned she would like to play.

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Golden Age of Wireless: Streaming Service Offerings

No. I am not talking about one of the most fantastic albums ever released (though I should probably spill some virtual ink on that someday).   I am talking about the number of options afforded to us in streaming entertainment.  

In this time of Covid-19 we are supposed to stay at home and avoid interaction with others. That is fine, but it means we are spending a lot more time at home.  So I have been enjoying a lot of what streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon, HBO, and CBS All Access are really trying to get our attention with more programming.  Since I am also saving a small fortune by not having to drive into work anymore I am enjoying all of them.

Since I have been spending my week categorizing over 350 different demons for my demon book I don't have much RPG content to share right now.  So what's good on streaming?

CBS All Access

Or the all Star Trek all the Time Channel. Star Trek Discovery Season 3 has been fantastic this year.  The crew jumped 900+ years into the future (3188 to be exact) to save a sentient AI from falling into the wrong hands.  It doesn't quite have the emotional connection that Season 2 (the search for..well...Spock) did BUT for a Trek fan like me it has been great on the fan service and easter eggs.  This is essentially Season 1 of the new 32nd Century Star Trek.   This gives the creative team so much more freedom to do the special effects they obviously wanted to do anyway but also gives them some good storytelling freedom away from the established Trek canon.  This is amusing because this season has had the most callbacks to previous versions of Trek outside of Season 2's TOS homages. 

image of Star Trek Lower Decks and Discovery

Additionally, we are getting new episodes of Picard, Lower Decks (maybe and second season is coming I have not heard), and new shows like Strange New Worlds (Pike's Enterprise) and Section 31, Starfleet's Gray Ops group.  For a Trek fan this is fantastic!  

Amazon Prime

My October Horror Movie Challenge would not have been possible without Prime.  We have been watching a lot of Vikings lately.  Don't confuse it for actual history (even though it was on the History Channel) it has been fun and has given me some ideas. 

The Second Age Middle Earth series is underway.  Casting has been announced, but I don't think filming has started yet. 

Hulu

Have not taken as much advantage of this one as I should.  But the really fun Helstrom was here (and not Disney+ for some reason) and it shows that when Marvel does Horror, it can do a great job of it.

In many ways, Helstrom and Satana (Ana in the series) was Marvel's answer to DC's Constantine even though Hellstrom (2 "L"s) premiered a decade before.  Hellstrom, Satana, Doctor Strange, Blade and Dracula were all part of the Marvel Horror universe that I loved as a kid.  The changes from the comic to series were needed and very welcome to me really.  It is still full of Marvel AngstTM, but it is also a lot of fun. 

HBO Max (or + or Go or whatever it is called now)

HBO has been around forever. It and Showtime were two of the very, very first "movie channels" out there.  But today HBO is better known for its series.  True Blood (which for some reason is getting a reboot) and Game of Thrones are two notable ones.  This past year I have been watching Lovecraft Country (which is fantastic!) and His Dark Materials, which is getting better in Season 2.  We also got the DC shows, Harley Quinn, Titans, Doom Patrol, and soon we will be able to see Wonder Woman 84 and the Synder Cut of Justice League.

I don't care. I am such a DC fanboy that I am excited about this.

Netflix

The Champion of the Streaming Channels, but it has had some serious competition from Disney+.  Let's see what they have been offering me.  Netflix will be forever fixed in Geek Heaven for Stranger Things.  We will be getting the 4th season of that soon; filming is underway.  Enola Holmes, based on the YA books was also a hit, even if it didn't exactly conform to the established Holmes canon. We also got The Witcher based on the video game and now R. Talsorian Games RPG of the same name.

Speaking of Season 4, we are getting the LAST installment of the Chilling Adventure of Sabrina near the end of the month. It looks like they are taking it where the comic also went, into dealing with Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian horrors.  It looks like it should be great.

I was a little disappointed in ChAoS when they killed off Dorcas played by the lovely Abigail Cowen. while it may have been part of the plot, she was quickly scooped up it seems by another Netflix production, Fate.  I saw the trailer for it today and thought it looked cool, THEN I saw what it was at the end.

Fate: A Winx Saga. Whaaat? Winx Club as a comic and then a kids Nickelodeon animated series.  I thought it was a poor rip-off of Disney's W.I.T.C.H. so did Disney in fact.  Turns out Winx Club was published and in production a full year before the W.I.T.C.H. comics came out.  This is by the same people and is supposed to be darker and more adult.  I happy to see Abby Cowen is something where she is the star, I thought she had great potential on ChAoS and this should be fun too.

Oh. If you have not seen The Queen's Gambit it is fantastic.

Disney+

What can you say about Disney+? I mean even before they acquired Lucasfilm and Marvel they had one of the deepest wells of titles and characters.  Honestly just between the Disney, Pixar, and ABC material they own they could have been fine as a streaming service.  But let's be honest, as great as Pixar is no one dropped the cash for Disney+ for that alone.  Disney+ has been moving along famously in the last year or so thanks to The Baby Yoda Show The Mandalorian.  It has been a fantastic show and Season 2 has been delivering an action-packed episode all season long AND with great storytelling AND with characters I never thought in 40 years I'd see on TV.  While I am a Star Trek fan deep in my DNA, I do love Star Wars.  The adventures of Not Boba Fett and Space Pikachu has been some of the best Star Wars I have seen.  Disney+ could honestly do a victory lap now, but that was until yesterday when they made their 2021 announcements.

I have no idea how many new shows and movies are coming out for Marvel and Star Wars now. Lots. More than I ever thought one studio would try to do.  Instead of trying to recap them all (lots of other sites are doing that) let me just focus on the ones that interest me. 

WandaVison

I have a love/hate relationship with Scarlet Witch in Marvel.  First, she was never really a witch so I often felt "lied" too, except the times she was a witch. And a mutant. She was a villain, she was a hero, she was depowered, she was overpowered. As a character, she was all over the place. And sometimes she was just that, all over the place. She suffered from bouts of insanity, deep depression, and loss.  

I will give the movies credit on a couple of things.  Divorced from her "mutant" background it gave her character more definition. Also for the first time, I bought into her's and Vision's love for each other.

The new series WandaVision looks like it takes the background of the comic's characters and really makes a good series out of it.

Seriously, this could be Wanda going mad and her powers acting out creating new realities or something else. Or both. Given the character, it is likely both. Elizabeth Olsen is also a great actress and she can pull this off.  Frankly, the riffs on "Bewitched" are enough to get me to watch it. 

Watching this new trailer really puts a different spin on the first trailer released.  

There certainly something else going on here. I am looking forward to it.

Marvel: What If...?

One of my favorite Marvel Titles was "What If...?" The comic would break off into different sorts of stories all under the "What If" question.  What if Spider-man joined the Fantastic Four? Was the first one. "What if Gwen Stacy had lived? was an interesting one as well.  The best may have been the introduction of May "Mayday" Parker as "Spider-Girl" and the Gwen Stacy arc eventually planted the seeds to give us "Spider Gwen".  If Barry Allen/The Flash is the center point of DC's multiverse, then certainly Spider-man is the center of Marvel's.  It seems a little odd to me then that Spider-man doesn't feature at all in the trailer of Disney+'s "Marvel: What If...?" series.

I am sure it is more shenanigans with Sony.  Though the rumor is now that Alfred Molina will return as Doctor Octopus in the third Spider-man movie. Additionally, we could get past Peter Parkers as well now that Disney owns what was 20th Century Fox and Into the Spider-verse was a huge success. 

Here we are.  Our geek cups run over and there is more to fill even more cups.

Never would I have suspected that we would have so much genre entertainment at our fingertips.  Which is good since we really should not be going anywhere.

Ok Prof. Dolby, play us out.