Desert Of Zin

The occasional blog of Alistair Bain – Writer, Husband, Father and Chief Techno-Arcanologist at the Institute of Giant Robots, Spaceships and Wizards. None of these positions pay well.

New role-playing fun

I want to Static yesterday afternoon to pick up a few boosters for Call of Cthulhu and picked up a new RPG for the games I’m intending to run.

The final decision was between A/State, Children Of The Sun and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Preferably I would have went for A/State but it wasn’t in and Warhammer was my third choice, so CotS won through.

Last night I had a flick through the book and it seems different enough to give the players a more unique experience than they may be used to. It also helps that no-one else is familiar with the game or setting so we’re all starting on the same level.

A/State and WFR will be picked up at some point but I’m wanting to see how successful the first game or two of Children is before subjecting the group to anything else.

With any luck in the next few week I should have the start of a new gaming group.

May 26, 2006 at 10:37 pm | Gaming | Tags: , , , , , | No comment

So many games, so little time

Recently I’ve had it in mind to dust off some old role-playing books and gather some like minded citizens to have a few games of whatever to help while away an evening.

Booze and snacks would help as well. 🙂

So I’ve got some vague ideas regarding what to run:

  • Call of Cthulhu – A quality horror game in the “creeping evil” vein which can be set in the 1920’s or present day.
  • Mechwarrior – Set in the Battletech universe. The system is good but the character generation is over-complicated.
  • Delta Green – A Call of Cthulhu based setting in the present day. It involves U.S. Government conspiracies and Mythos-related investigations.
  • Elric – Based on the Elric stories by Michael Moorcock. Doom laden fantasy.
  • Children of the Sun – A dieselpunk game. Apparently bridging the gap between steampunk and cyberpunk. I don’t have this yet but I’m tempted to pick a copy up. Unfortunately the company producing this are no more so getting a copy might be difficult but I’m sure Static Games have a copy.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay – Given the choice between AD&D and Warhammer, I’d pick Warhammer every time. It’s considerably darker than most fantasy games. A strong possibility.

I think I have enough potential players for two separate (and comfortably small) groups but if anyone wants a game then send your requests to the usual address. (Which I’ve just realised is no-longer on the site. Must fix that…)

May 15, 2006 at 5:56 pm | Gaming | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No comment

No more comics

So that’s it then.

This week I’ll be picking up Infinite Crisis #7 and that’ll be it for the foreseeable future. No more comics.

I’ll still be picking up the occasional graphic novel but the days of forking out for dozens of issues a month are long gone.

And it’s not just the number and price that’s the reason. Recently the quality of the stories and art has been litle short of dreadful.

And then there’s the constant crossovers and events.

And the variant covers.


April 30, 2006 at 1:47 pm | Reading | Tags: , | No comment

My reading list

I’m currently in the process of re-reading all my books…

Curently Reading

  • Cities In Flight by James Blish
  • The Burrowers Beneath by Brian Lumley
  • The Straw Men by Michael Marshall

Finished (soon to be reviewed)

  • Level 7 by Mordecai Roshwald

April 7, 2006 at 4:39 pm | Reading | Tags: , , , , , , , | No comment

Steady as it goes

So, no great news on the writing front.

However, I am coming out with a few pages a week (it’s been difficult to find the time/motivation to do more) but that’s a steady pace I’m up to. I’ve no idea what my approximate word count is right now and I don’t really want to know.

I’d like it to be a surprise when once I fill my writing pad. I don’t think I’ll be anywhere near finished when that happens but just filling the pad will be encouragement enough.

And I’m rapidly approaching the 100th entry in my wiki. Loads of story ideas so far, enough for a whole damn series of books.

When the 100th entry is done I’ll post it here. Actually, It’s probably an idea to regularly post entries on the blog. What do you think?

March 31, 2006 at 7:56 pm | Writing | Tags: | No comment

Another piss-poor attempt

As far as card games are concerned, I used to be pretty good at them. And, until recently, this was still the case.

Alas, no more it seems.

I’m just back from Callum’s place in the backwaters of Lenzie and I’ve just suffered two more pathetic losses.

It didn’t help that during the second game, one in which I was doing reasonably well for a while, he pulls out the following card combination: Cthulhu and Sniper Rifle. Cthulhu is bad enough (a skill of 10 and invulnerability) but adding a sniper rifle (choose and wound a character with lower skill) was just mean.

And for those who don’t know, almost all characters in the game have a lower skill than Cthulhu…

Anyway, who ever heard of Cthulhu with a rifle? It’d need to be a hell of a big rifle for a creature of over 100 ft in height to use.

Or maybe I’m just being bitter. It’s off to the card folders to come up with something new…

December 15, 2005 at 11:44 pm | Gaming | Tags: | No comment

NaNoWriMo 2005 total?

And this year it will be….. (drum roll please)…. 13,000 words.

And the target was?…… 50,000 words

Which leaves just HOW MANY remaining?…… 37,000.

So, it seems, both a failure (not completing the 50,000) and a success (writing 13,000, which is a personal best for me). I’m not discouraged though, as the story has only really just begun. 😉

December 5, 2005 at 11:59 pm | Writing | Tags: | No comment

Aww bless…

I’m currently re-reading my Rifts RPG Collectors Edition book (what can I say? I like reading role-playing game source material) and a few sections at the beginning always cheers me up.

On the first page it says:

The fictional world of Rifts is quite violent and deadly. It is an exotic realm where magic is as real as technology, and demonic creatures plague mankind.
Some parents may find the violence and supernatural elements of the game inappropriate for young readers/players. We suggest parental discretion.
Note that none of us at Palladium Books condone nor encourage the occult, the practice of magic, the use of drugs or violence.

That’s nice.

There’s also a couple of lines a few pages later in the Glossary of Role-Playing Game Terms. The particular term is Death:

Players should take a character’s death calmly. Remember, it’s ONLY a game.

Aww, that’s nice of them to be looking out for my well-being like that. Bless.

December 4, 2005 at 1:04 am | Gaming | Tags: , | No comment

Day 9 NaNoWriMo 2005

Target: 15003 (or thereabouts)
Current: 8000

So I didn’t make my individual target for today or the target by day 9. Oh well, there’s always tomorrow.

And there’s the all-nighter I intend to pull on Friday night. In fact I think I might just see if I can write all the way through the weekend, stopping only for church, food and pooping.

I can get all the sleep I need at work on Monday. It’s not like I have to do anything else (except work, of course).

November 10, 2005 at 12:13 am | Writing | Tags: | No comment

NaNoWriMo 2005

Every year since 1999, in the month of November, many budding authors have tried their luck at NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

The aim is to write a 50,000 word novel, or 50,000 words of a novel, in the 30 days of November. Aye right.

Or is that aye write?

Sorry, that was pathetic, but I couldn’t resist it… But seriously, a 50,000 word novel in a month? Who’s daft enough to try that?

A surprising number of people actually. And that includes yours truly. 🙂

Last year I managed the hugely impressive amount of 63, yes that’s 63, words before the wall descended and blocked any and all access to both my imagination and the english language.

This time, however, things are going better. Now I’m up to approx. 7200 words and I’m only on day 8. I know technically I’m behind my daily minimum of 1667 words but I’m feeling a hell of a lot better about it this time around.

Even if I get past 13,000 words then I’ve beat my personal best and that was a feeble attempt at stringing all the fragments and beginnings of stories I’ve done over the years into one big story.

This, at least, has as air of cohesiveness about it.

November 8, 2005 at 11:31 pm | Writing | Tags: | No comment