SciFi Fandom Pride: Where’d You Go? “He tends to say whatever comes into his circuits.” – Cassian Andor, Rogue One

The Force Awakens

To think about pride, like for me familiarity with popular science fiction, it is true that in 2015, enthusiasm for the Star Wars films, Star Wars fandom, soared nearly beyond measure when Lucasfilm presented the Star Wars film The Force Awakens.

The realization was great that appreciation for the popular trilogy of films of the nineteen seventies and eighties was “striking back,” an achievement again like the success of Star Wars in the spring of 1977.  George Lucas nearly didn’t get his 1977 film made, according to accounts of what happened, and even though it is true that most film projects whether original in scope or not fail to get made, it is an endearing success story that Lucas made the movie.  The phrase “success story” lacks the weight behind what Star Wars actually did to Hollywood cinema, which was as expansive as what became of the Star Wars galaxy a long time ago and far away.


Photographer:
One Idea LLC

The fervor for Star Wars returning in 2015, helmed by J. J. Abrams, was awe-inspiring.  In fact, Star Wars’ ability to create awe is what gives it such a punch.  For The Force Awakens, original cast members from 1977 joined a new cast for a continuation of Return of the Jedi.

The Force Awakens was a giant success and seemed to bring with it the promise that Star Wars would be once more returning with aplomb and dedication.  Despite unravelling the plot of the original Star Wars films by undoing the Rebel Alliance’s success destroying Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, and failing to bring Harrison Ford, the late Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill together in The Force Awakens, it was implied that untied ends and more importantly the reunion between the actors from the original movies would appear in Star Wars Episode VIII in 2017, directed by Rian Johnson.

Discouragingly, Johnson’s film about Star Wars horrified and divided the Star Wars fandom, by dismantling thoughtlessly a trove of Star Wars lore, failing to shoot what would have been an extremely important reunion of Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo, and, also front and centre, bringing identity politics into the movie.

There has always been a deep-felt pride in Star Wars and while I’m a Canadian, I felt pride when Star Wars returned loud and strong in 2015 with The Force Awakens.  Then I felt that pride evaporate when I realized that The Last Jedi is potentially ruining Star Wars, which sounds catastrophic and yet is indeed a possibility.  There is every chance that the best science fiction, at least science fiction on film, the best of the entire twentieth century, will be undone if Episode IX fails at the box office.

The rest of Star Wars will be history.

There are voices on the Internet, the fandom, divided by The Last Jedi, that organized and presented a call to Disney to save the glory of Star Wars by insisting CEO Bob Iger and Kathleen Kennedy do the work to successfully market Episode IX, for which we have not yet heard a title or seen a trailer.  Star Wars Celebration is in a few days, helping Star Wars on its way.  Youtuber and filmmaker Star Wars Theory has promised to upload video he’ll shoot at Celebration.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8CbFnDTYkiVweaz8y9wd_Q

In the event that Episode IX is good, the Star Wars fandom will unite, and pride will spread throughout.

If the film flops, Star Wars will go to that great “clearance bin” in the sky.  I hope very much for pride but chances are it is through.

You are welcome to click “like,” to follow the blog, and/or to comment.

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Why Do People Think Pathfinder Version Two is a Good Idea?

Ten years ago the gaming company Paizo introduced the first season of the tabletop RPG Pathfinder to the public.  In the nine years since each year there’s been an additional season until now we are Season 10.  Each season brought with it new ideas for players of the role-playing game.

In 2016 the Humble Bundle website again made Pathfinder available in exchange for its usual “pay-what-you-like” model.  Humble Bundle accepts funds for charity in exchange for what are usually digital materials for gaming.  It was season six when I saw the opportunity on Humble Bundle to make a charitable donation in exchange for a lovely gaming bundle of digital materials for Pathfinder.

My twitter handle is @findingenvirons and my blog is found at https://findingenvirons1.blog …so that’s why I wanted to learn some of the rules of Pathfinder.  Pathfinder is a fantasy environment to explore and combat.  Characters representing players of the game are customized to keep many choices open when players put together a class, ancestry, and background.

Looking from Louth United Church in St. Catharines for a glimpse of Maple Lawn Cemetery

Looking into what’s happening with Pathfinder, I went to Pathfinder publisher Paizo’s blog.  I saw that Wednesday, February 13, 2019 Paizo announced that they are preparing version two of Pathfinder to improve upon the existing game.  Playtest is over, so what’s the plan? https://paizo.com/community/blog

At this time Humble Bundle has brought back its offer of accepting funds for charity in exchange for more digital materials of the game, now in Season 10.

For $8 (about CA$10.58) Pathfinder game supplements Shattered Star 1 and 2 of 6 are included, along with several digital gamebooks for Pathfinder. For $15 (about CA$19.84) Shattered Star 3 and 4 of 6 become available along with many others.  For $18 (about CA$23.80), all of Shattered Star unlocks, along with many, many others.

If you’re interested in pursuing this, you will have to act soon.  https://www.humblebundle.com/books/pathfinder-10th-anniversary-books

Version Two will be streamlined, but consistent, with the original design of Pathfinder.  Tactical play will remain similar.  Likewise, magical items will be similar to how they were in the first version.


Photographer:
Skitter Photo

On August 2nd Paizo started playtesting to ensure that Pathfinder version two will be as fun and as effective to play as the original version.  Paizo made the reveal at Gen Con 2018.

Although I’ve never, strictly speaking, been part of playing Pathfinder, being familiar with how of the game works is of interest to me.  It reminds me of playing Dungeons & Dragons, which is where the game Pathfinder began (creators of Pathfinder at first intended it to be a refinement of D&D’s “3.5”).  I may pursue Season 10 for my own reasons, to get additional insight into Pathfinder, so that I better relate to players of the tabletop RPG.

It is exciting to think that this new edition is becoming available after ten years of popularity already.

To get a more accurate picture of what’s happening with Pathfinder, I turned to Quora for information.  Although perhaps odd, I put my question to Quora this way:  How would you recommend I proceed in anticipating the Pathfinder RPG version two?

Monday I received four answers.

Todd Gardiner, from Hieroglyph Photography, said this:

“If you anticipate an upcoming product, I would recommend you buy it.

“Not really sure what other advice you are seeking here. ‘How do I anticipate something?’ isn’t really a question most people ask.”

Given his constructive criticism, I see the value of his advice.

Ryan Marshall, the author of Gishes & Goblins, answered this way:

“Try not to worry about it, until it’s actually published. The beta test of the rules was a wide departure from the first edition, but it was also poorly received, so there’s no way to anticipate the scope of the changes they might implement.”

This was a problematic answer because Marshall is saying that the beta test possibly won’t stand the test of a comparison to the first version of Pathfinder.  This is a very different point of view than the other three answers I received.

Steffen Häuser, playing Pen&Paper Games for 30 years, had this to say:

“Just play them. Me and my friends who before played 5e got ourselves some copies of the printed beta rules (available on amazon) and just started playing. Imho 2nd edition pf is hugely better than both dnd 5e and Pathfinder 1st editiob” (sp).

In contrast to Marshall’s answer, Steffen here is offering the point of view that the new version is superior to the first.  A complete opposite of Marshall’s opinion!

Nelson Cunnington, a player since the 70s, said this:

“You need a plan to anticipate something? I can only suggest the usual eager looking-forward, interspersed with impatience that it isn’t coming quicker and depression that it hasn’t happened yet.”

I think Cunnington is looking at the situation with humor.

I did get one more answer a few days later.  This is what one “Richard Bachman” had to say:

“I would avoid major purchases of Pathfinder 1 books until you see how things shake out in your area. If I enjoyed Pathfinder 1 (which I do), I would personally feel no need to change editions unless all my friends insisted on doing so and I could no longer find Pathfinder 1 games.”

Another fine response.

I hope the publisher Paizo continues to be successful, and also earns many charitable donations.  Humble Bundle facilitates charitable giving in exchange for the enormous value of digital materials for play.

If you enjoyed this post, you’re welcome to “like,” follow me and/or comment.  If you play Pathfinder, I am particularly interested!

Paizo Announces Pathfinder Second Edition for Summer 2018

Posted by Rob Wieland on March 7, 2018

https://geekandsundry.com/paizo-announces-pathfinder-second-edition-for-summer-2018/

Photo Inspired by Numbers 32:13-15

Bus stop

This is again Lent, and I was pleased three years ago to try photographing shopping carts, at the side of a street. In the photo, few people, even no one, are on hand who need them. The shopping carts speak to an absence.

The Bible in Numbers 32 details how the Israelites were lost, for so long, that they were reduced an entire generation.

Reminders that The Lord is a vengeful deity are important. In Numbers 32:13-15 The Lord feels burning anger at Israel. It is important that we remain optimistic, but pragmatic, about future generations prospering.

In the photo I took, shopping carts have been abandoned by the shoppers. Likewise in Numbers 32:13-15, Israel lost an entire generation by resisting the influence upon them, of The Lord.

The passing sight of lined-up shopping carts reminds an onlooker that there was a human presence, but it has dispersed.  Whoever was responsible for the decision to make a spectacle of wayward shopping carts is gone now. Perhaps this is common in every community, but something is incorrect about the moment.

I found these verses from the Book of Numbers to suggest what I am showing.

For what reason was Israel reviled with forty years to meander?

13 The LORD’s anger burned against Israel and he made them wander in the desert forty years, until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone.

14 “And here you are, a brood of sinners, standing in the place of your fathers and making the LORD even more angry with Israel. 15 If you turn away from following him, he will again leave all this people in the desert, and you will be the cause of their destruction.”

Numbers 32:13-15

Despite all this, Lent remains for me in middle age a challenge to observe.

DSCF8555

Deriving Inspiration from Marvel Avengers: 14 Common Misconceptions You Can Correct

Unusual sky

Marvel Avengers Alliance Redux-Alpha 3 preview!

I’ve decided to return to my explanation of the Marvel Comics game Marvel Avengers Alliance, through the “lens” of the renowned treatise on military strategy, The Art of War.

Dimensions: 4880 x 3107
Photographer:
Suzy Hazelwood

1. The Laying of Plans, Calculations and Estimations

In Marvel Avengers Alliance, you have to “earn” gold, and this is achieved by spending money (such as $5 on ten “gold”). Gold can be exchanged for command points. A combination of silver, which is available for free in the game, and command points together, train your superheroes at the ready–so that they go up a level.

2. Waging War – The Challenge

The game Avengers Alliance consists of a number of challenges between its “bosses,” who are wicked opponents to the Avengers, and yourself and your heroes. Come each time you defeat a “mini-boss” or a “boss” you have won a game mission, and the next mission awaits. That’s the gist of the game, which is good fun.

3. Attack by Stratagem or Planning Offensives

In the game, you have a ready store of gear, supplies and more so that with “research”, carried out inside the game, your superheroes at the ready can advance to more dangerous fights than they have previously taken on. You can also recruit heroes and send them into battle (when they are not “busy” getting you silver) at the outset of each fight, so that you have enough superheroes at the ready.

4. Tactical Dispositions or Positioning

Tactical determinations aren’t a major concern in Marvel Avengers Alliance, but there are opponents against whom you must battle, that protect their own by getting in the way of your attacks.

5. Energy & Direction

There is an energy component to Marvel Avengers Alliance which restricts you by the number of fights you can lose, at which point you need to wait until your energy comes back. Or, if you have energy in reserve to use, which is an extra in the game, you can bring your energy back instantly.

6. Weak Points and Strong / Illusion versus Reality

The game is entirely about illusion, and the superheroes at the ready are the Avengers, who you know from comics, and film. The Avengers have many illusory powers which they wield. Likewise, the villains are monstrous!

7. Maneuvering and Dealing with Direct Conflict

Typically, the fights of the game are three against three, or occasionally fewer. The maneuvering in battle consists of directing your team’s attacks so that the enemies are reduced to zero and fade away.

8. Variation in Tactics aka The Innumerable Changes

Your team has their equipment and superpowers so you can choose your tactics while in the heat of battle. That’s a major part of the game, and if that kind of diversion interests you, Avengers is good fun.

9. The Army on the March / Moving the Force

To collect silver, which goes with training and research, you can send heroes to various parts of the world as it is understood in the game, where your heroes spend time “policing,” which plays into the game to help with your advancement.

10. Terrain or Situational Positioning

The game doesn’t include a terrain component, which is good because the app would be all the more challenging. Each fight resembles good or evil at the centre of the fight.

11. The Nine Situations / Terrains

Author Elish Bul-Godley discusses Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu in: Why Wall Street Loves “The Art of War” – A 13 Point Plan To Mastering Business Strategy, and if you have a thirst for combat, perhaps Sun Tzu’s strategy will appeal to your better judgement.  Bul-Godley quotes Sun Tzu saying: “Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both.”  Indeed, often your fights will be against a trio of evildoers, and you have to decide how best to attack your enemies.

12. The Attack by Fire

Fire-dealing weaponry is part of the game, and an arsenal is available both to you (who is the “Agent” in the game), and to the superheroes who have fire attacks at their disposal.

13. The Use of Spies / Intelligence

Fortunately, Intelligence, by which you gain information, factors into the game as much as the story does, keeping the fights coming, as a mission is always ready for your heroes.

14. There is no #14

Sun Tzu must have won the war at 13, for The Art of War stops there.

Unusual sky
Sky opening on the horizon

If you have an interest in a game like Marvel Avengers Alliance, feel free to blog about it and I shall enjoy reading you!

Cheating To Pilot Victoriously a Game

My mother’s parents bought me the game Wings for the family Amiga 500 when it was fashionable.  It grew on me, becoming a sense of being more deeply involved in playing games.

Much of Wings was strategic dogfights between you and the enemy.  The box for the game contained factual information about WWI, and a narrative within the game took you through to victory in 1918.

I liked playing the game.  I just didn’t like being nailed by enemy fire.

Playing the game required extreme player ability.  The dogfights were mad.

You flew with a view from over the shoulder of the pilot, in the cockpit of your craft.  Soon you would see the pilot turn his head.  Enemy aircraft was nearing, and the time was at hand to go in that direction.  If bullets hit your plane, you knew you were in trouble.

Then it was time for diving away and getting as far from the fire as you could.  If you could get an enemy in front of you, firing a volley ahead of him often meant he would fly right into it, and your trouble would be solved.

The game’s realist play meant that you were likely to get cut to pieces no matter what happened.  The game fascinated me, but as soon as your pilot met his end, the game required you to begin the war over.  No one would wish for that, particularly with my computer’s loading time.

There was a workaround that would mean evading death, and hence becoming one of the best pilots of the war–but it was cheating.

I found out by intuition that if enemy aircraft had me defeated, I could hit the hard reset command for the computer, and the rebooting computer would sweep away the game.  What was the upshot?  The diskette wouldn’t save the destruction of the pilot’s mission, and I could try again.

With successive missions, your pilot became better at combat.  The hardest missions could be won with an extraordinary pilot in your control.

Dimensions: 5455 x 3386
Photographer: Snapwire

War shouldn’t be treated lightly, and if the game reflected the time in the life of a teenage pilot at the outset of World War I, I would have gone to the grave.  I am sorry, of course, not that I would have been shot down, but that I insisted foolishly to play a game so insensitively.  How NPC is that?

Have you ever had to cheat at something innocent?