Happy November! Got some unusual recs this month, no actual print books. Well, kind of. Webcomics and music and games, oh my!
Darths & Droids
Hey, who’s excited for Star Wars? Truth be told, I’m way more into Krampus, but that one got vetoed so I’ll have to wait till it hits Netflix or something. Star Wars, meh. I liked the prequels??? *ducks*
But there’s this great webcomic that looks at all the movies as if they were a roleplaying adventure, and it’s hilarious. I stopped reading a few years ago, school just made it hard to keep track of much else and it dropped off my radar. But it’s still going! So I started reading it again and I’m happy to say it’s as funny as I remember. And in fact way better now that I actually have roleplaying experience, which I didn’t when I read it the first time.
It makes sense of a lot of the silly things from the movies that clearly just weren’t fully considered. Good way to get re-acquainted with the story before jumping into Episode VII without actually having to watch any of the movies. Or to get some GM/roleplay advice! I’ve made several mental notes in the past few days reading this.
I recently saw Semisonic discussed as a one hit wonder for their song “Closing Time.” I was shocked. One hit wonder!? Come on, that’s not even their best song. And I’m sure I’ve heard “Singing in my Sleep” on the radio a lot. I think. My husband says I just play it all the time. Google Play says only twice, but it also says I’ve only listened to “Secret Smile” three times and that is a lie. I listen to it a lot.
I suppose it comes down to what a “hit” means, I guess maybe the other songs were sort of known but not quite as popular? I’ve always thought of one hit wonders as bands you never hear of after that one song, and Semisonic has SO MANY GOOD SONGS that I could swear I’ve heard all over the place.
Regardless. If you’re not familiar with them, or only familiar with that one song, you should listen to more. I have three of their albums (which is apparently all of them) and I can’t even pick a favorite because they’re all so great for different reasons. Some favorite songs, though. “F.N.T” and “If I Run” from Great Divide, the already-mentioned “Secret Smile” from Feeling Strangely Fine, and “Bed” from All About Chemistry.
Since I recently listened to an (unrelated) album that was recommended but had some really offensive content that I couldn’t stand, I should probably give a slight warning here. Sexual themes are common in their music. “Bed” stays juuuust this side of friend-zone-y whining but still comes across as kind of manipulative. I think that’s about it, apologies if I missed anything.
My sister might do her first tabletop RPG soon. Yay! New gamers are always cause for celebration. (Okay, she was already a gamer and in fact plays more board games and video games than I do, but whatever. New medium!) My husband suggested she should play Savage Worlds because it’s best for beginners.
In all fairness, he’s spent a lot more time gaming than I have and knows both systems better, so there’s probably some truth to that. And Savage Worlds seems like a good meeting point between the mechanics heavy systems and the open narratives. But as a narrative-based gamer who hates complicated stats and crowded character sheets and excessive use of dice, I’ve gotta go with Fate.
Wide open in terms of setting and skills and such, easy rules, and only four dice that are all the exact same kind of die. This is the game for me, and I think everyone interested in this sort of gaming should try it at least once. At least read the thing and think about it! Seriously, it’s all available online for free, you’ve got nothing to lose.
But if you decide you like it enough to spend money on a physical copy, there’s a couple of options to start. The hardcover full version (titled Fate Core) is beautiful and has all kinds of great examples and explanations and suggestions. I recommend this for more serious gamers who want it for a collection or want to explore the system deeper (although again, this info is all available online if that sounds good but you’re not sure yet or don’t have the money right now).
For first-time or more casual gamers, a refresher, or people who just want to check it out as quickly and easily as possible, check out Fate Accelerated Edition. Same basic rules, same open system, waaayyyy easier read. I flipped through the whole thing last night in about 20 minutes while deciding for sure that it was as good an option as the core book.
Now I honestly think it’s better. There are a few sections that were a little fuzzy for me and I would go online and look up details for those, but overall it’s pretty easy. And actually I think I made those sections more complicated than they were, I forgot how simple this system is and how much it tries to stay out of your way so you can just have fun.
The one thing I can think of that might hold people back is the specialized dice. It is only one kind, but they’re Fate dice, made for that system and unlikely to already be sitting in your house. My recommendation if you’re not sure enough to rush out and buy them? Just reassign the numbers on a regular d6. (For non-gamers, that would be the six-sided die you probably do already have in your house somewhere if you play board games at all.) Technically you should have at least four of them, but if you don’t? Just re-roll them and keep track on paper or something.
Lots of fun here. Any recommendations for me?