Saturday, 9 April 2022

Books & Stuff (NS, No 27) - Apollo Astronauts

 While out scouting for books the other week, I came across the following: - 

A selection of biographies of people connected with the Apollo Programme.  Quite a haul.  I may have an 'Apollo reading month' soon.

The only problem is that I don't have any room for them on the shelves devoted to space exploration.  Some juggling is going to be required.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Gaming in Mar 2022

 A less crazy month than February!

  • 4 Mar - Wasters (Cyberpunk OSE), Elite Version - on-line
  • 6 Mar - Wasters, Norm Version - on-line
  • 17 Mar - The Beast of Errinsford (OSE) - on-line
  • 18 Mar - Board Games - face-to-face
  • 18 Mar - Wasters, Elite Version
  • 27 Mar - Wasters, Norm Vesion
  • 29 Mar - The Beast of Errinsford

Wasters (Elite Version)

  • 4 Mar
A continuation of our mission from 25 Feb in which we were tasked with kidnapping a Corpo Exec.  We'd reached the Corporate Outpost and had taken up position where we could surveil the building out target was in.  Hacking into the building's network gave us access to security cameras and locks, which proved useful, but let us know that there was no way we were going to be able to do this job stealthily.

We were lucky to have a piece of tech that neutralised a mecha patrol, and broke into the building.  There we were engaged in a series of firefights with coporate security - heavies, bots and a cyborg.  Having cleared the floor, we paused to bring the van around and fill it with as much loot as possible (including the mecha's autocannon).
  • 18 Mar
The third, and final, session on this mission.  We fought our way upstairs, collared the Exec, tranquilised him, bundled him into the van and got the hell out of there before reinforcements arrived.

Home for tea, payment and a $90,000 medical bill for one of our retainers.

Wasters (Norms' Version)

  • 6 Mar
There are few polite ways to describe want an absolute disaster this session was!

Our crew took on a job to go to a Corporate Outpost and cause mischief.  We spent quite a lot of time in prep, including getting a minigun turret mounted on Pink Wheels, our new van.  And off we went!

On the ways we made a small detour to sell a datastick to the cops.  This proved to be a big pay-out.  So big, in fact that as soon as the Lieutenant left, the other cops tried to shake us down for a even bigger bribe than we'd already arranged.  This didn't end well.  Our new minigun made short work of them, but we had to scarper fast (and were marked down as cop-killers).

On reaching the Corporate Outpost, we trusted to our usual plan of having a couple of snipers in a good position, and then doing some drive-bys.  This didn't work, as we were completely outclassed by the corporate security.  I think we finally realised that we weren't going to get out of there alive when two Cyborgs walked up to our van and tipped it onto its side.

End result: TPK.
  • 27 Mar

After the TPK, our newly-fledged characters decided to avoid the jobs that were advertised in the outpost and instead went out to explore some new blocks (in theory low-risk ones, as being close the the Safe Zone).  The first two we avoided because of gang activity, and we finally settled on one that was only occupied by wild animals.

We almost immediately stumbled onto (literally - they got a Surprise Round) a nest of eight rattlesnakes.  It turns out that rattlesnakes are tough SOBs!  And, unfortunately, one of the first to fall was the only character carrying a anti-toxic hypo.

This one wasn't quite a TPK, but we lost two PCs and three NPCs - seven went out, two returned! 

The Beast of Errinsford

The Old School Essentials game I'm GM-ing, loosely based on the module The Black Wyrm of Brandonsford by Chance Dudinack.   I'm giving up writing my own AAR reports for these sessions: Andreas' are always more consise and much more amusing.
  • 17 Mar

Session 4.  Having been informed by the village priest that there were magical weapons in the tombs of the party that killed the orignal Beast; and by the witch, that another tomb contained a cauldron that would be useful in addressing the curse, our party headed out to the Barrows.

On the way, the found a mule (a survivor of the missing caravan - A Klew!), had an enchanting encounter with a Dryad, and were attacked by wolves (a PC being killed in this fight).  Before they camped for the night, they met a couple of more travellers (a replacement PC and an handy NPC).

Session 5.  The party made it to the Barrow Mounds, only to find that someone had beaten them to the tomb of Errin and his Companions.  They explored, finally started finding some loot and made an unexpected friend.

Board Games

The store library at The Games Table

Back to our Friendly Local Games Store and its library of over 400 games.

Links below are to the games' pages on BoardGameGeek.
  • 18 Mar
We had our long-planned but postponed (because of the apparent complexity of the rules) game of Terraforming Mars.  Once we'd got our heads around it (including watching a YouTube video at the table), it didn't prove too difficult.  One for future exploration when we have another spare four hours.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Books & Stuff (NS, No 26) - Reading in Mar 2022

 Books Finished

HP Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth and Other Stories

A collection of seven (not six, as it says on the back cover!) stories by Lovecraft, including the title story and 'The Colour Out of Space'.

Introductions to modern Lovecraft anthologies have to go out of their way to admit that he was a horrid racist, but that one can separate his works from the man.  In this 1971 collection, the introduction gives an almost avuncular description of him!

Ruthanna Emrys, Winter Tide

I decided to re-read Winter Tide, the first of 'The Innsmouth Legacy' books, in which Emrys subverts Lovecraft by taking the side of 'the other'.  Her heroes are the two Hybrid survivors of the concentration camps (being released alongside the Japanese internees at the end of the war).

They are recruited by an outcast FBI agent to research into secrets hidden in Miskatonic University Library, with the promise that they might also be able to recover some of their stolen heritage.  It's not only the Soviets who are watching Miskatonic though...

I originally read this in Oct 2019 and found it a little contrived (it did make my Best of 2019 list though).  This time, I came away with a better impression, and therefore read the next in the series.

Ruthanna Emrys, Deep Roots

Aphra Marsh's quest to resettle Innsmouth leads her to New York in search of lost relatives.  Instead, she finds a settlement of Mi-go who are divided among themselves as to how interventionist to be in human affairs, given the threat of atomic war.

Natasha Pulley, The Bedlam Stacks

A bit of magical realism set in C19th Peru as a British expedition is sent out to steal cuttings of the cinchona plant (the source of quinine).

Robert Harris, The Second Sleep

Something a little unusual for Harris, best known for his historical thrillers.  This one is set in a post-apocalyptic future, hovvering on the end of a new medieval age.  But as competent a tale as you'd expect from Harris.
Andy Weir, The Martian

Every so often I re-read Weir's tale of an marooned astronaut's refusal to give up in the face of everwhealming odds.  It's a bit of a comfort read for me (especially when I'm giving up).

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