Friday, August 31, 2012

Confirmed - FASA is back

It's official, FASA is back in the publishing business. They have a new website,, although no content is up yet. They have their own Earthdawn IP as well as licenses for Fading Suns, Blue Planet and Noble Armada (didn't Mongoose have that last one like a month ago?). Check out this podcast for more information.


Monday, August 27, 2012

RedBrick calls it quits

RedBrick has announced it is getting out of the game publishing business. There have been some problems lately between RedBrick and the lead designer of their third edition of Fading Suns which I haven't been paying a lot of attention to since I'm more interested in the rumour of a Fading Suns Pathfinder edition. However, it now looks like all plans related to Fading Suns, as well as Earthdawn, Blue Planet and RedBrick's other IPs are up in the air. Not surprisingly, the Earthdawn license has reverted to FASA, but I'm surprised that FASA is also taking on the Fading Suns license. Holistic Design is the licensor for Fading Suns and as far as I know, FASA has not been an active publisher for more than a decade. It sounds like FASA is coming back to life, an interesting development to be sure. Sadly, the announcement does not say anything about the possibility of a Fading Suns Pathfinder edition. I will have to keep an eye out for upcoming announcements from FASA.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

RIP Mr. Armstrong

I do not, as a rule, post death notices on this blog. Although both Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson have passed away since I started blogging, I didn't feel any impulse to comment. Their contributions were important to me personally, but still, I felt no compulsion to join the outpouring of public grieving. I didn't know them personally and I wasn't emotionally affected by their passing.

However, the news of the death of Neil Armstrong is different. He was a personal hero of mine. I became a scientist, in large part, because of the Apollo program. Although I finally settled on geology, I started out in my academic pursuits in astronomy until the maths finally became more than I could manage. Still, I have always been fascinated by space exploration and I've always felt that Apollo 11 was the pinnacle of human achievement. It is a sad day for me and humanity.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Rippin' on...Call of Cthulhu again

More love for Lovecraft from Zack and Steve.

Mansions of Madness, pt.2


Back to my reading project

After taking a break from my effort to complete all the SF books in the NPR Top 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books, during which time I read the John Carter of Mars trilogy (not on the list, but entertaining), I returned to my reading project over my recent vacation with the monumental Anathem, by Neal Stephenson. I had one brief flirtation with Stephenson's work back in the late '90s when a friend of mine insisted I read Snow Crash. I'm not much of a cyberpunk fan and I just wasn't ready to appreciate Stephenson's work at the time, but I'm glad I decided to give him a second look. Anathem relates the story of the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a monastery (or "math" as they are referred to on Arbre, the planet upon which the novel is set) dedicated not to religious reflection, but to science (theorics) and philosophy (metatheorics). As a result of thousands of years of tumultuous history, the mathic system has come to its present form, sequestered from the outside world, denied access to most technology (praxis) and tasked with keeping records of humanity's accumulated knowledge as civilization rises, falls and rises again. In exchange for allowing the mathic world certain priviledges, the Secular Power reserves the right to call out or evoke individual avout (monastic members) in times of great need if it feels they could be of some value.

[Minor spoilers ahead]:

Things really get tense when the Secular Power starts evoking several avout at a time and one particularly beloved older avout even gets the aut of Anathem (a combination of excommunication and expulsion) for engaging in some undisclosed, but seriously forbidden research. In short order, the remaining avout determine that an alien spacecraft has assumed orbit above the planet. Awesomeness ensues.

This book is a challenging read, no question. There are lengthy philosophical discussions, especially between mathic orders who descend from Saunt Halikaarn and those who claim descent from Saunt Proc. The philosophical differences between these two correspond to Platonic realism and mathematical formalism, respectively. Overlain on top of all this is a mountain of unfamiliar terminology. A cellphone is a jeejah, a video camera is a speelycaptor. Yet, despite all that, Anathem is a real pageturner. I read the entire book, just shy of a thousand pages, in under two weeks. Now, I'll have to make it up to my kids. I can't really say if you, the gentle reader, will love this book or hate it. It definitely will require a certain type of person to appreciate it, but I can say I never read a book before that made me want to go read up on Plato's Theory of Forms.

I suppose I should prepare myself for more Stephenson awesomeness, Snow Crash, The Diamond Age and Cryptonomicon are all on the NPR list. I'm getting a little light-headed just thinking about it.


Sunday, August 12, 2012


For those of you out there looking for a great deal on  (non-painted) miniatures take a look at Reapers Kickstarter for its new Bones lines HERE.

$100 gets you over 100 miniatures at this point with more being added everyday. Lots of good bonus deals as well. I'm going to pledge for sure, I'm still undecided about which extras I will add in.


It is summer time and since we only get about 3 weeks of really nice weather a year everyone is out enjoying it which means things are pretty quiet around here.

I have been playing through Mass Effect 3 for a second time and its got me itching to do a squad based futuristic RPG (one where you mow down aliens not one where we run for our lives every fight).

We are, however, still in the early phases of the Rise of the Runelords Campaign AP so its unlikely we'll be doing anything else any time soon. We TPK'd at the end of the last session but this one is going to start with us naked in jail (well, our characters anyway) so we'll see how it goes. We were defeated by some nasty terrain and a druid goblin.