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Savage Worlds of Science Fiction

SFC_Cover_WebI’ve recently finished reading two very different systems dealing with the science fiction genre. The first was Harp SF, a very dense, very simulationist game. I’ll be reviewing that one, soon. The other was the Savage Worlds Science Fiction Companion and, as you might guess if you know Savage Worlds, it was far less dense and far more focused on having fun than on getting every detail right. As happens often with Savage Worlds, I was left with a mild feeling of incompleteness when I finished the book yet also felt like I’d been given exactly the right amount of information and rules.

If you’ve read any of the three previous Savage World’s Companions, the format of this one will be very familiar. It starts with player character information, including ways to create player character races and a few races that are appropriate to the sci-fi genre using those rules. One of the most interesting of these examples is the insect aliens, who have both the mute and outsiders hindrances built into them. This combination seems rife for roleplaying opportunities for someone playing one in a mixed group. Another interesting choice are the Deaders which are sentient space zombies using the classic sci fi genre trope of space slugs controlling humanoid corpses. There is also a short section of both edges and hindrances specific both to the genre and to the rules presented later in the book.

Also for the benefit of the players is a pretty extensive list of high tech equipment with everything from stealth suits to cyber decks. The largest portion by far is the weapons section. Rules for almost any high tech weapon a person could want from vibro blades to rail guns is included and, just as large as the personal weapon section is the vehicle based weapons. Exactly how these can be used is unclear at first but becomes important later in the book. Continue reading

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Beer. Run. Geek. The Search for Heavy Seas Concludes!

We FINALLY make it to Heavy Seas Brewing! While there, we try their new Cross Bones Session IPA, and their new Uncharted Waters release, Siren Noire! We also visit The Yards in DC for their Ice Yards event, featuring ice bars, vodka snow cones, and , and hot tubs outside in the 30 degree weather!

When all that is finally done, Paul reaches EIGHT miles in his half marathon training! Does he survive?

And send us comments and suggestions at BeerRunGeek@outlook.com!

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Beer. Run. Geek. The Search for Heavy Seas, Part 2!

Our trek to Heavy Seas Brewing in Halethorpe, MD continues! Along the way, we stop at Heritage Brewing, Wild Run Brewing Company, and take a jaunt to 2nd and Charles, a used book store in Woodbridge,VA!

Learn more about the places we visited in this episode:

And send us comments and suggestions at BeerRunGeek@outlook.com!

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Funnybooks With Aron and Paulie: Wayne, You Have Failed This Podcast!

This week may be light on comic releases, but it’s heavy on disappointment! Wayne abandons Aron and fails the podcast….or does he?

Also, we chat about the new Star Wars book from Marvel and an early contender for “Holy Sh*t Moment of 2015,” with this week’s issue of Avengers!

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Madness at the Movies: American Sniper

308555id1i_TheJudge_FinalRated_27x40_1Sheet.inddThis weekend saw the release of American Sniper. I was wanting to see this movie as I had followed the story of Chris Kyle as it unfolded in the media in the past few years.

A quick Google search will give a little bit of an idea what had swirled around this man in life.

With Clint Eastwood directing and Bradley Cooper staring and producing, I was confident that the movie would be done well. I did have some reservations that the feeling of reverence for America might easily eclipse any tension or characterization that one would hope for in this movie. Thankfully, these concerns were misplaced.

This movie tells the abbreviated story of Chris Kyle, reputed deadliest sniper in american history. Bradley Cooper takes on the role of Chris Kyle. The movie opens up as Chris’ team sets up to begin over watch on Marines going through Fallujah. The audience gets to watch as a mother and child come out of a building and head toward the convoy. Chris is forced to evaluate the situation as the mother pulls out an object and has to take the shot to keep her from throwing a grenade at the Convoy. As the young boy picks up the grenade, the tension ratchets up as we wait to see what will happen. The movie then jumps us to Chris as child and hunting with his father for the first time. This type of tension building is the hallmark of the film. Even knowing how the movie ends, I was on the edge of my seat with each of these tension points. It wasn’t fear for the main character which maintained this tension but the decisions which had to be made in the moment and the loss of life on both sides. What follows is a journey with Chris from childhood back to this one point in time to this decision point and beyond.

The movie carries a quiet, reverential tone for Chris throughout which is expected. It puts on display a man with deeply held beliefs that get him through these very difficult spots while hinting at the flaws that make for a much more intriguing person. The movie presents the issues that crop up for each of Chris’ tours in Iraq and only gives the viewer the answer that he does not want to leave a job undone. The real answer is messy and only hinted at throughout the movie. The same is done for the effects of being in hot zone as a sniper.

Bradley Cooper’s performance as Chris Kyle is excellent. He could have easily been portrayed as the dumb redneck or the over-the-top patriot and is instead given a more realistic image. Bradley gives us a laconic yet affable Chris that is easy to like and hard to look away from when the trigger points become so intense. Cooper shows the inner-turmoil that one would think that kept Chris Kyle awake at night without making him a raging psychopath.

I enjoyed this movie. It started out with that frisson of doubt that this is going to be a ‘Murica type movie and quickly sheds this yoke and gives a nice character piece filled with tension. It is definitely a heavy movie in that once it is over there is a sense of relief but not in a bad way. It is a movie definitely worth seeing on the big screen. I would definitely see it again.

 

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Beer. Run. Geek. Yard Wars!

This week, Beer. Run. Geek. visits Yard House in Virginia Beach, Va — over 100 taps! With so much selection, how do we choose?

And the day is finally here…Star Wars returns to Marvel Comics for the first time in almost 30 years! Paul hits his local comic shop to pick up as many of the cool variant covers as he can, and reports with his first thoughts on the issue.

For the full review of Star Wars #1, check out our Funnybooks podcast right here on IdeologyOfMadness.com!

And send us comments and suggestions at BeerRunGeek@outlook.com!

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Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Player’s Handbook

Over the holidays, I recommended picking up the 5th Edition D&D Player’s Handbook. I failed to realize that I hadn’t really talked about the book here on Ideology of Madness.

Allow me to remedy that mistake.

Let’s start with the book itself. The Player’s Handbook is a 316 page full color hardback book. The book retails at $49.95. The cover illustration of a giant fighting with a hero is just gorgeous and the back cover art of the Hell Hound growling at the melee is also well done. The binding of the book is sturdy and has held up well to multiple references by different people. I mention this because I have purchased books in the past where the binding begins deteriorating after a few uses and this books does not have this issue. The interior are picks up on the promise of the cover and carries it throughout the book. One of the problems I had with prior editions of Dungeons & Dragon was the use of recycled art in the newer base books. This is not the case here. In particular, I like the wide variety of characters that is presented throughout the book. We get tribal warriors, half-orc paladins, female samurai, and a whole host of diverse characters which just made the book sing. Continue reading