General

On Weekend Tragedies

I know that feelings are still very raw regarding Sunday’s terror attack in Orlando, so I’ll attempt to keep this post brief and to tread lightly while I do so.

First, there are no words to express my sadness at the loss of life in that Florida nightclub. This was a massacre, a bloodbath, and there are likely thousands of people—if not more—who are personally dealing with the aftershocks of what happened over the weekend. There is no excuse, no reasoning that should make this all go away.

Second, by all accounts, this appears to be more than just an LGBT-targeted hate crime. The terrorist who slaughtered those club-goers reportedly pledged allegiance to Da’esh in a 911 phone call, and it appears that a coordinated attack was also planned for the West Hollywood gay pride parade, though that one was thankfully thwarted by police.

Third, please don’t use this unspeakable tragedy to push your agenda. Any agenda. Whether you’re pro- or anti-gun, let the dead rest and the families of the dead mourn. Resist the urge to be a Monday Morning Quarterback. Don’t repeat misinformation about how “fully automatic” “assault rifles” are freely available in the U.S. Don’t try to convince people that a Concealed Carry Hero could have saved the day.

Forty-nine people lost their lives because a radical Islamist took it upon himself to murder innocents in the name of whatever twisted belief system he held.

Can we please let this horrific event pull us together instead of letting Da’esh and its blood-soaked goons tear us apart?

And we’re back!

From the looks of things, I’m pushing nearly three years of radio silence on this little blog-thing of mine. With some of the new developments and decisions happening recently in my life, maybe it’s time I ramped it back up. To those of you coming back from the hiatus with me, Welcome back! Glad to see you.

For those of you stopping by for the first time, Welcome! Even gladder to see you. 🙂

I won’t bore you with all of the details, but it looks like I’m going to be spending more time focused on my education and my writing than I have in recent years. (With only two prerequisite classes, the GRE, and some writing samples standing in my way, I could be starting my graduate program as early as next fall. Yikes.) There’s no guarantee that I’ll be accepted into the program I want, of course, but that’s the goal.

In the meantime, I’ve decided that I’ve been very lacking in my creative endeavors lately, and firing up the blog again is part of combating that. As much work as it can be sometimes, I really enjoy writing, and I’ve realized that I need to be doing more of it—especially if I eventually want to make a living from it. (As Larry Correia counsels, “GET PAID” is one of my main writing goals.)

That said, having a full-time job and very nearly five kids is going to limit the amount of time I can dedicate to the blog, so please don’t be upset when I’m not posting every day. I’ll try to do it weekly, but with as chaotic as my life can be sometimes, I ain’t makin’ no promises. 😉

This restart also provides a chance for a bit of a retooling of the site. Back in Ye Old 2013, the site was named “Locke’d Life,” and while I found it catchy at the time, it doesn’t quite fit with the way I want to present my content anymore. That content will still be the same—book and game reviews, roleplaying writings, and just general ramblings—but I’m going to try branching out a bit more and share other neat Internet things I find. (Like this Disturbed cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence.) I’ll also be linking you to my gaming streams, where you can watch and laugh along with my every groan-inducing fail. But hopefully you’ll find something to keep you entertained for just a little while.

So, this is Locke Vs. … well everything, really.

Enjoy. 🙂

Dresden Heroic Roleplaying – Part 2

In part one of my Dresden Heroic Roleplaying hack, I covered the different pieces that make up a character: MO, Distinctions, Abilities, and Specialties. Today, we’re going to dive a little deeper into the mechanics of the game, namely how to build a dice pool and the ways your character takes damage.

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Dresden Heroic Roleplaying – Part 1

I’ve recently started gearing up for a Dresden Files RPG game that I want to run in the next couple of months, and while I will probably end up using the rules designed and published by Evil Hat Productions, I still had some fun working up a quick hack for Marvel Heroic Roleplaying using the setting. I’ll be doling it out here in bits and pieces, and I invite any constructive feedback you have to offer. This is my first real, thorough work on a Cortex Plus hack, so I’m bound to make some very obvious mistakes. Feel free to let me know if you catch one. 🙂

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Fate Core

Early last month, Evil Hat Productions, opened up a Kickstarter project for their newest revision of the Fate roleplaying system. I’d originally been intrigued by the last version of the rule set sometime last year, but while it was an interesting take on story-oriented roleplaying, it just wasn’t clicking for me. I couldn’t quite suss out how I would use something like that to play the games that I was looking to at the time. So when Fate Core popped up on my radar, I immediately jumped at the chance to help kickstart the endeavor.

For those of you who don’t follow projects on Kickstarter, let me just tell you that Fate Core ended up being one of the most popular RPG projects the site has seen since it first opened its virtual doors to the public. The initial goal was low (three thousand measly dollars), but when the project closed last Tuesday, there were over 10,000 backers pledging upwards of $430,000. Calling this thing “successful” would be a vast understatement.

The enthusiastic outpouring of support from the “Fate Corps” was well deserved, however. Fate Core is a solid, streamlined game that keeps the focus on the characters and their actions rather than letting things get bogged down in multitudinous rules. I haven’t had the opportunity to do much more than partial character creation in it yet, but I’m slotted to run a demo session at an upcoming convention and I couldn’t be more excited to be using Fate there.

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Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones

People often say that good things come in threes. But when the second part of a trio is a disappointment, most of us would reevaluate our belief in that sentiment. After finishing up Prince of Persia: Warrior Within (sort of, at least), I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant to see how The Two Thrones would shape up. Thankfully, the last entry in the trilogy returned to its roots, a little bit wiser from the previous game’s detour.

The Two Thrones opens up with the Prince returning to Babylon, his home. He’s been successful in preventing the creation of the Sands of Time from, and he’s brought a winsome lass along with him. Too bad the happy ending he was looking for is going up in flames.

Literally. The Vizier has taken over the Maharajah’s kingdom in India and used his troops to wage war on Persia. Upon seeing the Prince’s ship in the harbor, the soldiers manning the trebuchets and catapults open fire. Shipwrecked and alone, the Prince sets off to rescue his companion from the clutches of the evil Vizier. I’ll avoid spoilers here, but after some rather climactic events, you’re left to play as a two-sided character trying to take his revenge upon the man who destroyed his home.

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Prince of Persia: Warrior Within

“Most people think Time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you they are wrong. Time is like an ocean in a storm.”

When I first played Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time back in 2005 or 2006, I immediately fell in love with the game. Yes, this was still back in the era of Gamecube graphics, but the mixture of great voice acting, interesting story and game mechanics, and parkour really sold me on the game. I even dressed up as the Prince for Halloween that year. So when the entire Prince of Persia franchise went on sale on Steam last year, I snapped it up as quickly as I could. Sands of Time was amazing, so the other games would be too, right?

So far, that prediction has not panned out. (more…)

Thoughts on the New Year

The arrival of 2013—while certainly disappointing to the disillusioned believers in the apocalyptic Mayan “prophecy”—has started me thinking about my personal goals, both those I set for myself last year and those I am considering for the upcoming year. And while I may not have hit every benchmark I was hoping to in the last twelve months, I feel that the future is looking brighter, or at least more attainable. (more…)

Kickstarting tremulus

I’ve blogged before about my enjoyment of tabletop role-playing games. Hopefully, it’s not a shock to many of you that I happen to be that nerdy. 🙂 In my almost-never-ending quest to find the One and True Role-Playing System for Every Genre, I’ve seen a lot of rules systems. And while I’m currently having a lot of fun learning the detailed nuances of the Savage Worlds core rules and Super Powers Companion, I keep my eyes open for supplemental material that I can use in my games. My search led me to Reality Blurs, Sean Preston’s purveyor of fine RPG settings. With supernatural spy action in Agents of Oblivion, mind-bending Mythos mysteries in Realms of Cthulhu, and steampunk and shadow adventures in RunePunk, they’ve become my favorite third-party publisher for Savage Worlds material.

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Crafting Caldera

I like to think of myself as a creative person. No, I’m not an amazingly productive person always churning out new ideas, but there’s something about mashing concepts together and seeing what bubbles to the top that intrigues me. I think that’s one of the reasons I enjoy role-playing games—tabletop or video versions—so much. I’m able to explore a story and possibly add my own twists to it. It’s a little difficult to do much with my ideas in video games, since I’m not generally a fan of “head canon,” but when it comes to the tabletop, the sky’s the limit.

Which is why I’ve been working recently on my own superhero campaign setting. It’s nothing flashy—I don’t have maps drawn up for anything—but I’ve enjoyed working on it. It’s been a project to keep my mind active during periods of downtime that would otherwise see me obsessively checking my email, RSS feeds, and Kickstarter project pages. (More on Kickstarter later. 😉 )

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