Rulebooks for Reading

Over on Gnome Stew, DNAPhil recently broached the subject of reading game rulebooks for ideas on plots, mechanics, and even just for recreation.
I do all three of these myself!
I find that rulebooks from one system can provide inspirations for other games that I run. As a long time Amber GM, a game that spans a multiverse, nearly any setting from any rulebook can be used as inspiration for a shadow or world. Much of the Dreamlands in my world have been inspired by a host of supplements and ideas. The Yithonghu, enemies from the dream world, were originally inspired by a GURPS Cabal creature. A port city in Weirmonken, Turku, was inspired partially by an Iron Kingdoms Port city.
Even beyond Amber, I borrow from other games. For example, The ruins of Serathis, from Monte Cook’s Arcana Evolved world have shown up as a site in my face to face Exalted session. The magisterium, an ancient tower that was appearing only once every full moon, came from a session of In a Wicked Age that I played with the Indiegamers where that came up in the Oracles.
I fully expect to do more of this in the future. Beyond that, though, even if I never actually get to use or run them, I like to read RPG books for pleasure. Sometimes small things, ideas that I don’t even explicitly remember, come from pleasurably reading a nice and detailed RPG supplement.

Roger Ebert on “The Road”

The irrepressible and still-going Roger Ebert has a review of The Road today, the adaptation of the Mccarthy novel starring Viggo Mortensen.
I haven’t read the novel but I have a general idea of the plot and themes of the movie. Still, even just reading this review is enough for me to think that this movie is painted only in the darker shades of grey and black. Ebert is a fan of McCarthy, has read the book, and so I trust his judgement on how good an adaptation of the novel the book is. Ebert gives it 3 1/2 stars out of four.
I saw the movie a second time at a press screening on Oct. 27 in Chicago. I see festival films again whenever I have the chance. I find the second viewing makes the good ones better, and the bad ones worse. Such is the case with “The Road.”
Still, I am sure that “The Feel good movie of the year” is one tag phrase that is NEVER going to be used for this movie.

Nine poster and trailer

I’m not a giant fan of musicals.
That said, I think Nine is a musical that I can get behind!
Look at that poster and tell me that I wouldn’t want a piece of THAT. And the trailer is pretty good too. Kate Hudson in a music heavy movie again. Nicole Kidman. Penelope Cruz. Marion Cotillard. Sophia Loren. Daniel Day-Lewis is the male lead. Someone who can act!
The movie is being done by the guy who did Chicago, which is one of those exceptions to my “not giant fan of musicals” rule.
So put me down for Nine!

The Mystery of the Goat Lick pictures solved!

As you all know, I have an extensive collection of pictures on Flickr.
Now, some of my pictures are pretty good, and some are popular. None are anywhere near as popular, though, as a couple of pictures I took a few years ago in Glacier National Park at a place called the Goat Lick.


Goat Lick
Originally uploaded by Jvstin



Goat lick valley
Originally uploaded by Jvstin



In a couple of days, I accumulated thousands of hits for these two pictures. I figured it was a glitch or something. They aren’t particular spectacular photos (they are pre-DSLR, too).
Now that its happened again, I’ve discovered what happened. No glitch.
Apparently these pictures have been Digg-ed on a story about a Mountain Goat. This story is apparently popular, and in the context of the story, someone found my Goat Lick pictures as some of the best of the area. And thus, the spate of visits to my pictures.
Weird, huh?