Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Strange World of Dr. Jonathan Reed

"According to Dr. Jonathan Reed, his encounter with an alien took place sometime during October 1996 in the Cascade Mountain woods of Washington State while hiking with his dog. At one point during the hike, Reed says, his dog became agitated and ran ahead of him barking. Concerned the animal was in danger after hearing it howl like it was 'being mauled,' Reed grabbed a tree branch about the size of a baseball bat and went to investigate. Upon reaching the site, Reed found his dog attacking a humanoid creature. The creature then attacked the dog, 'literally tearing the head off.' The dog was reduced to ashes -- Reed described it as having 'imploded.'

"Reed then claims to have lunged at the alien, striking it in the head with the branch. The alien, after being struck, screamed and fell to the ground.

"An hour after assaulting the alien and trying to regain his composure, Reed heard a humming sound coming from the woods. Seeking the source, he says, he observed a 'large, wedge shaped, black triangle' hovering low to the ground. He also called it an 'obelisk.' Reed, equipped with a 35mm camera and 8mm video camera, proceeded to photograph and film both the 'obelisk' and alien, as he remained at the scene for about three hours. Reed says he then wrapped the alien body in a thermal blanket, took it home and stored it in a freezer. {Two closeup photos of the alien's head, apparently lying on the shiny thermal blanket, and one photo of the alleged 'obelisk' craft, have circulated on the internet. - ed]

"The next day his friend, known only as 'Gary,' came over after Reed contacted him. Reed stated that 'Gary' contacted Peter Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center and started asking "what if" questions, such as, 'What if we had a dead alien body?' [Peter Davenport has told CNI News that he does not recall speaking to 'Gary' or Dr. Reed at the time of this incident.] Reed also claims that his friend "Gary" has been missing for the last 2 years."

Click Here For the Rest of the Story

Click Here For The Chilling Photos

Click Here For A Transcript of the November 11th appearance of Dr Jonathan Reed, Robert Raith and Whitley Strieber on Art Bell

If it has Whitley Streiber, it has to be true. Enjoy the fun. [Via Jonny]

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

This Dork Is Bound For Origins

Friday after work Colleen and I will be heading South to Columbus for a day at the Origins gaming convention. At least a day at Origins for me. I have meetings scheduled with Steve Kenson and John Snead and I have a mix of excitment and fear.

It should be a fun and interesting day. Maybe I'll even get to game.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Glastonbury Festival to Hold Silent Disco

Here's a cyberpunk type of image for your upcoming campaigns:

Glastonbury Festival to Hold Silent Disco

"It's a scene familiar to any summer music festival � open fields full of sweaty young bodies writhing in time. But this one appears to be missing a vital element � sound.

"At Britain's famed Glastonbury music festival this weekend, festivalgoers can take part in a "silent disco."

"The music, instead of being pumped out through stacks of speakers, will be streamed to the audience through personal sets of wireless headphones, and it'll look like the dancers are jumping around to a nonexistent beat."

Romania Stunned by Nun's Death in Exorcism

Romania Stunned by Nun's Death in Exorcism

"The whispers started in April in the mind of the 23-year-old nun.

"In the heart of an Orthodox convent in Romania's impoverished northeast, doctors say, Maricica Irina Cornici believed she heard the devil talking to her, telling her she was sinful.

"She was treated for schizophrenia, but when she relapsed, a monk and four nuns tried a different method: exorcism."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Gossip: Prime Directive d20

This blogger has heard that a big part of the delay in Prime Directive d20, produced by Amarillo Design Bureau is in the fact that the publisher has said that he is uninterested in learning the d20 system in order to understand the manuscript turned into him from a respected d20 author. This disinterest has lead to internal strife between the publisher and the author, as the unknowledgeable publisher and playtesters who are just as clueless have forced enormous rewrites of the material, rewrites that in many cases do not fit with the workings of the d20 system. Many of these re-writes wouldn't even make sense to someone with a passing knowledge of how d20 works, such as requirements to spend XP at certain places in character development (which of course would mean that characters would not be able to advance as quickly due to having to use XP for things other than what they are intended for in the system.

This blogger fears that the resulting book may not even be compatible with other d20 products, due to a mistaken understanding of the nature of how d20 works. Hopefully, this will not be the case.

This blogger thought that the days of publishers attempting to exploit the d20 fan base with uninsipred and poorly implemented conversions of their house settings was a thing of the past. While Prime Directive d20 sounded interesting when announced, this blogger can not justify supporting a publisher who has expressed disintrest in learning a system and is only publishing for that system for the money of the fan base.

ADB Discussion Forum

From a posting by Steven Cole of ADB (in the above linked thread): "It is important to remember that SVC will do the production coordination and probably the page layouts but that he doesn't understand the D20 system at all (and doesn't want to)."

This blogger finds this attitude to be very disheartening.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Bar of soap sells for $18,000

For your discussion, a campaign seed. The world is always stranger than fiction.

Bar of soap sells for $18,000

"Perhaps the oddest piece of work at Art Basel is a bar of soap, displayed on a square of black velvet, purportedly made from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's fat, removed during liposuction."

Monday, June 13, 2005

Origins Awards Ceremony Changes

Friends and Colleagues in the Games Industry,

We have taken a careful look at the Origins Awards Ceremony. Despite recent attempts to make the awards more interesting and entertaining (last year's 30th Anniversary show, in particular), Origins Awards ceremonies have been very lightly attended. We have concluded from this, and from the success of previous social events, that both gaming fans and industry professionals would rather celebrate the awards in a party-like atmosphere than sit down to a 2-hour ceremony.

As such, we've chosen to announce the Award Winners to the public on Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. from the entrance of the Exhibit Hall, where the nominated products will be on display. We've replaced the Awards Ceremony with a celebratory Gala, scheduled from 9:00 PM to 12:00 AM Friday night in the Fusion Room on the Ballroom level of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, across the skywalk from the Convention Center. Origins Award statuettes ('Callies') will be distributed at the party to those winners in attendance.

The party is free for the primary creators of nominated products and Supporting members of the Academy, and $30 for others. Tickets for the party may be purchased at the Special Services desk at Main Registration.

We are confident that this approach is much more in keeping with the spirit of our industry, and we hope you will all take the opportunity to enjoy the celebration.

On the behalf of the GAMA/Origins Staff

Sean Patrick Fannon
Events Coordinator, Origins/GAMA

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Hasbro Reacquires Game Rights From Infogrames

Hasbro Reacquires Game Rights From Infogrames

"French-headquartered publisher and developer Infogrames, recently in the news over the resignation of CEO Jim Caparro at its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary Atari Inc., has made another major change to its line-up, with the news that Hasbro has reacquired many of its gaming rights from the company, for a sum of $65 million.

"Infogrames, which now publishes its games under the Atari label, originally acquired Hasbro Interactive in 2000 for $100 million, in a deal that included rights to all Microprose games, the Atari hardware and software, the online gaming site, and electronic rights to all Hasbro properties for a period of 20 years. Infogrames then merged the company with acquired U.S. property GT Interactive under the current Atari Inc. brand."

A lexicon of teen speak

Here's a great resource for those "evolved" languages for your near future campaigns. Use the right "teen speak" (this article is from the UK) and your can equal any doublespeak written by Burgess, Womack or even Orwell.

A lexicon of teen speak

"A new campaign aims to persuade people to become teachers because they will learn new words. Teen speak can be confusing for anyone who is not a teen. So here is the E-cyclopedia's first annual guide to youth-speak for the not-so-young."

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Mike Mearls Hired as Developer at Wizards of the Coast

Mike Mearls Hired as Developer at Wizards of the Coast

"I've received my offer letter, so I guess it's kosher to publicly announce this. I've been hired by Wizards of the Coast as an RPG developer." [via Jeff's Gameblog]

Experiment IV: Israel May Use Sound Weapon on Settlers

Here's something that could be useful for your RPG campaigns. It reminded me of the old Kate Bush song, Experiment IV:

We were working secretly
For the military.
Our experiment in sound,
Was nearly ready to begin.
We only know in theory
What we are doing:
Music made for pleasure,
Music made to thrill.
It was music we were making here until

They told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.
So we go ahead,
And the meters are over in the red.
It's a mistake in the making.

From the painful cry of mothers,
To the terrifying scream,
We recorded it and put it into our machine.

Then they told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.
So we go ahead,
And the meters are over in the red.
It's a mistake in the making.

It could feel like falling in love.
It could feel so bad.
But it could feel so good.
It could sing you to sleep

"I'll bet my mum's gonna give me a little toy instrument!"

But that dream is your enemy.

We won't be there to be blamed.
We won't be there to snitch.
I just pray that someone there
Can hit the switch.

But they told us
All they wanted
Was a sound that could kill someone
From a distance.
So we go ahead,
And the meters are over in the red.
It's a mistake we've made.

Hmm hmm hmm, hmm hmm hmm.
And the public are warned to stay off.

Experiment IV: Israel May Use Sound Weapon on Settlers

"Israel is considering using an unusual new weapon against Jewish settlers who resist this summer's
Gaza Strip evacuation — a device that emits penetrating bursts of sound that leaves targets reeling with dizziness and nausea.

"Security forces could employ the weapon to overcome resistance without resorting to force, their paramount aim. But experts warn that the effects of prolonged exposure are unknown.

"The army employed the new device, which it dubbed 'The Scream,' at a recent violent demonstration by Palestinians and Jewish sympathizers against Israel's West Bank separation barrier."

Comics and graphic novels, not just men in tights

Comics and graphic novels, not just men in tights

"Who would win a fight between Batman and Balzac, Superman and Steinbeck?" [via Colleen]

Church Sex Case Stuns Louisiana Town

Sounds like something from a Lovecraft story. See, there are still debased cults down in the "swamps" of Louisiana.

Church Sex Case Stuns Louisiana Town

"From his tire store next door, Donald Moore got an up-close look at the strange changes that went on at the once-bustling Hosanna Church.

"For one thing, the congregation had dwindled to a handful of reclusive members who chased away visitors. For another, the windows were painted white so no one could see in. And just before it closed its doors for good a couple of years ago, eight dump trucks came in and spread dirt over the church's back lot." [via Jonny]

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cleveland Gamers: Next Gathering

The next gathering of Cleveland Gamers will be at Seekers Coffehouse in Middleburgh Heights, June 18th at 8:00pm. If you're a role-playing in the Cleveland, Ohio area you should come by and say hello. While slightly scary looking, we are a friendly bunch.

Send an email to Cleveland Gamers at Yahoo to join the mailing list.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Announcing True20 Adventure Roleplaying

From the Green Ronin website:

"Green Ronin Publishing is proud to announce to upcoming release of the True20 Adventure Roleplaying game. Based on the innovative new rules system from Blue Rose, our Roleplaying Game of Romantic Fantasy, True20 provides a complete set of rules for fast, easy, and fun adventure roleplaying. All you need is a single 20-sided die to play, and the system guides you through the process of creating your own heroic character, with plenty of options to choose from, letting you create the hero you want to play! True20 Adventure Roleplaying will be available next week in PDF format from RPGNow. Whether you are an experienced roleplayer or just looking for a new, simple, and fun game system, True20 is roleplaying done right!"

A Great Man: David C. Sutherland III

A Great Man: David C. Sutherland III

"I have some profoundly sad news to report. David C. Sutherland III passed away sometime Tuesday in his residence in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. While his health had been in sharp decline, he was fairly active in his last days and was taking good care of himself. Thus, his death comes as sudden and unexpected.

"Dave is survived by his ex-wife and two daughters. His sister Trudy, brother Scott, and mother would like to pass along their warmest regards to all of those who participated in the Collector's Trove auctions of David's collection over the past year. The funds have been placed in an account to support David's estate and his surviving family members.

"He will be interred with full military honors at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN.

"David as you know was a longtime artist in the gaming world. Producing countless works at an incredible rate, he helped illustrate the games of our imagination for generations of players. Wargames, roleplaying games, strategy games, and board games. David had done it all with the care and intensity that only a true fan of the historical, sci-fi, fantasy game genre could uphold.

"The seminal artist of the Dungeons and Dragons and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons game and the fantasy world of M.A.R. Barker's Tekumel, David helped shape the very roots of the roleplaying games we all know and love. His work is the canvas of our youth and fond sentiments. Many of the top writers and artists involved with the roleplaying games industry owe their inspiration and calling to him.

"David's involvement in the art of games goes back to 1974 and the breadth and depth of his work is a roadmap for the history of the industry.

"Every game industry person that knew Dave respected him for his unswerving devotion to art and remembered him for his great heart. Dave was a truly honest, loyal, decent, kind hearted soul, that selflessly shared a particularly keen wisdom to all around him. Many of them owe their happiness in life and life's calling to David. He was truly a man for others."

Corporations Enter Blogosphere

Corporations Enter Blogosphere

"When General Motors Corp. wanted to stop speculation this spring that it might eliminate its Pontiac and Buick brands, Vice Chairman Bob Lutz took his case directly to dealers and customers who were up in arms about the possibility.

"He wrote about it on the company's blog."

Alien Thinking

Alien Thinking

"Not many scientists are prepared to take tales of alien abduction seriously, but John Mack, a Harvard professor who was killed in a road accident in north London last year, did. Ten years on from a row which nearly lost him his job, hundreds of people who claim they were abducted still revere him.

"Professor John E Mack was an eminent Harvard psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and Pulitzer Prize winner whose clinical work had focused on explorations of dreams, nightmares and adolescent suicide."

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Fudge Factor: Kilbrandeen House

Here is a very good adventure that recently appeared in Fudge Factor. Being that it is written for Fudge, it would be pretty easy to adapt. It is well worth checking out.

Fudge Factor: Kilbrandeen House

"Sitting high up on a hill, on the outskirts of Scotland, there sits Kilbrandeen House. This abandoned house has held the town in awe with legends and mysterious happenings for the last 200 years.

Enter, if you dare."

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Voyager 1 reaches solar system's final frontier

Voyager 1 reaches solar system's final frontier

"NASA's Voyager 1 has reached the final frontier of our solar system, having traveled through a turbulent place where electrically charged particles from the Sun crash into thin gas from interstellar space.

"Astronomers tracking the little spaceship's 26-year journey from Earth believe Voyager 1 has gone through a region known as termination shock, some 8.7 billion miles from the Sun, and entered an area called the heliosheath"