strange

Back from a break

Hello world! As you might have noticed, I haven’t updated my blog much over the last week. There’s a good reason for that, though: I was busy enjoying one-and-a-half week of vacation, starting with a long weekend in Berlin, and ending yesterday with a massive amount of sushi. My batteries are re-fueled now, and you will hear more often from me again.

To start, I want to give you a quick newsflash of what I’ve been up to, and what you can look forward to:

  • I’ve started making YouTube videos. My first video can be found here, and the next one will be up later this week (say…Thursday). It’s completely new to me, but I really enjoy making these. You can look forward to other kinds of videos and podcasts in the future!
  • I decided to drop the Strange Sunday column for good, noticing that I don’t have enough strange ideas to write about every week. I will compile an overview of all the past editions this week.
  • More Courage is on the way!
  • I have to really catch up with my writing for Camp Nano. Where’s the drive and motivation I had back in November?
  • Talking about on the way: Neverwinter will be released at the end of this month, and I will surely check it out. Maybe I should use that as an excuse to get into livestreaming?
  • Oh, and I’m surprised by how cool Warframe is. Didn’t expect too much of it, but I’ve been playing it over the weekend with Dee, and it’s actually pretty rad. If you like co-op third-person action akin to Mass Effect, check it out!

So yeah, that’s what’s been up so far. It’s great to be back, and thanks for visiting this blog even while I was lazy updating it. You guys rock!

Strange Sunday – who wants to live forever?

highlander queen

This week’s Strange Sunday will be another quick one, since I’m still recovering from an epic Lord of the Rings marathon (including The Hobbit). This week, I want to just raise some questions concerning the odd nature of immortality. What is strange about it? Well, immortality on itself isn’t that great. Unless it comes with some more nifty powers, you just have more time to do whatever you want. While that might be good for some persons, in general you’ll just outlive everyone you ever loved. That’s at best strange, but mostly traumatising.

So, what do you think? Is the wish for immortality strange or cool?

Strange Sunday – Ghosts and other spectral affairs

ghost apparition photo

“Ghost” by Joe-Roberts

Ghosts are awesome. If done right, they are scary for several reasons. First of all, they are unnatural and not from this world, which invokes this natural fear of the unknown every human possesses. Next to that, they can appear at any time and anywhere. Sometimes there are portents that herald their appearance, and sometimes they just scare the living bejeezus out of you by just appearing out of nothing. Finally, they come in many shapes. From the creepy manifestations of Poltergeist, to the ruthless black-haired spirit of The Ring, ghosts can look different in every story.

What saddens me though, is that ghosts ar,e most of the tim,e the spirits of deceased persons, stuck in this world to exact their vengeance or to resolve matters. It’s a shame though, considering that there are many other origin stories for the undead. In this week’s Strange Sunday, I want to highlight two sources of fiction who do spectres and apparitions a little bit different, or should I say…a little bit stranger?

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Strange Sunday – Sports

http://mango-addict.deviantart.com/art/Football-77744238

“Football” by Mango-addict

This is gonna be a short one, but it’s gonna be about something strange, and it’s still Sunday in my time zone. What will this be about? Sports, ladies and gentlemen, sports.

As you might have guessed by some of my posts on this blog, I like sports. I’m not some nut who watches every game of his favourite team every damn Sunday, but I like sports. However, I never liked sports games. No matter how often it will be released with a new year number on it, I will never, ever like FIFA. Or Pro Evo. Or even some more simulative games like Football Manager. However, given the amount of role-players out there who also like sports (trust me, there are more than you think), how come we never got a really good sports RPG? I mean, more than just number-juggling, but something with a bit of drama and real personalities. Where’s the game where I also see what troubles and travails my players have outside of the game, where I have to be the uniting coach who is the head of a rag-tag team of professionals with various backgrounds? When will Mass Effect and FIFA be merged into one game?

When, gaming industry, when?

Alright, I’m done. Strange Sunday has just become even stranger!

Strange Sunday – Sidekicks & sponsored heroes

Lately, I’ve been watching a show I should have started watching some time ago: Young Justice. It’s all about those sidekicks of well-known DC heroes, working together as a team to prove their own heroic worth. It’s a cool concept, putting the spotlight on the number twos. It also got me thinking: why always play the big ones in games, when so much can be told from the point-of-view of the up-and-coming? That’s why I dedicate this week’s Strange Sunday to the sidekicks & sponsored heroes, showing you some cool themes that can be explored from their perspective!

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Strange Sunday – Roman steampunk and other genre mash-ups

“WWII roman steampunk” by Robbiekooljive

I’m lucky enough to be running my first game of Dungeon World next week, with two people that have made this hobby such a blast for me. As a preparation for the session, I have asked my two players to share some ideas for the setting and “feel” of the world, and after stating that I would like to see some kind of Industrial Revolution and drunken dwarves, while shunning the conflict of technology versus nature and evil orcs, my players shared with me their ideas. The final result is both wicked and challenging: our game of DW will take place in an industrialised Roman Empire, fighting a war against both the barbarians at the gates and a race of space dragons, coming from fallen stars that have ravaged a great part of the world.

Yeah, let me claim copyright on that idea right there, ’cause even Hollywood couldn’t think of that!

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Strange Sunday – how to make magic special again

“Mage battle” by sandara

Most fantasy and sci-fi settings have magic in some way. No matter if you call it sorcery, psionic powers or miracles, every supernatural effect that is based on some bizarre, at most semi-scientific power is magic to me. I’m normally not a big fan of magic in games, unless it’s done in a cool and fresh way. Sadly, most settings miss out on the chance of making their magic something unique, and that saddens me.

You see, I have the feeling that most authors and game designers are under the impression that magic in itself is fairly unique already. It gives characters the capability to do something out of the ordinary, and thus it might not need any fancy background explanation. However, audiences have become jaded by the sheer amount of magic these days. The reason why I never bothered to play a biotic in Mass Effect was because it was just another kind of psychic magic to me, and I left those cool tricks to the rest of my crew. Fortunately, there are settings where something interesting is done with magic, making it cool, exotic and…well, strange. I want to highlight a few of those in this week’s Strange Sunday, to give you some inspiration!

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