Teaser Tuesday 8/1/2017: “Rebecca”

This week I’m reading Rebecca, the classic novel by Daphne du Maurier, in which a very young (and apparently nameless) narrator is swept off her feet by the dashing Maxim de Winter, quickly marries him, and goes off to live with him in his vast estate, Manderley, where it seems that―much like in the American South―the past is never really dead, and isn’t even past.

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Teaser Tuesday 7/25/17: “Harbinger of Doom”

So lately I’ve been reading Harbinger of Doom, a bundle of three fantasy novels by Glenn Thater:

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Not A Review Of “X-Men: Apocalypse”

So last week we (meaning I) watched “X-Men: Apocalypse“, the latest of the X-Men movies, at least until “X-Men: Dark Phoenix” comes out. Hmm, I wonder what “Dark Phoenix” will be about …

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Teaser Tuesday 7/11/2017: “Plot it Yourself”

These days, I do nearly all my reading on an e-reader, currently an InkBook Obsidian, but I do on occasion return to the dead tree books of yore. Typically this will be because someone gave or loaned me said dead tree edition. Such was the case with Dune, which, being a door-stopper of a book, I eventually bought in e-form so I wouldn’t have to fight with it when reading at lunch; and such is the case with the Nero Wolfe books, which my father sent to me in a box a while back. I’ve read them all before, but now I’m reading them again, because who doesn’t like to spend some time visiting old friends? The one I’m currently into is Plot it Yourself, in which Wolfe goes up against a con artist with a fondness for pretending that popular novels are plagiarisms of his or her own work, and also for knives.

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Teaser Tuesday 7/4/2017: “MaddAddam”

This week I’m (still) reading MaddAddam, the final installment in Margaret Atwood’s dystopian/post-apocalyptic series that began with Oryx & Crake. Dystopian fiction and post-apocalyptic fiction are not the same thing, of course, but all three books in the MaddAddam trilogy qualify as both because their present-day scenes take place after the destruction of (most of) humanity, while their flashback scenes take place in the dystopian burbclaves that preceded the apocalypse. Hence you get to eat your dystopia and have it too. Or something like that.

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Buffy Scenario: “Dracula”

A while back I posted an Angelus scenario for the “Buffy the Vampire Slayerboard game from Hasbro, which eventually drew a comment from a fellow Buffy show and board game fan who praised the scenario for being so in tune with the spirit of the show. I replied to this reader that I had a number of other “Buffy” scenarios that I had created, and said that I would post them over the course of the last few months. So far I’ve posted my scenarios for the episodes “Halloween” and “Hush“, but I’m still not done! Here is my scenario for the episode in which Buffy went up against the most notorious vampire of all. And no, it’s not this one:

It’s this one:

Well, maybe not it’s not quite that version of  … ooh, pivots!

A 5th Season Scenario for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Board Game from Hasbro

Dracula, the greatest vampire of all, is in town to face the Slayer and make her his own.

Evil Set-up:

Dracula has 4 fight dice and 4 magic dice. He has 12 life points. Dracula starts on the Vamp X space in the Factory.

Dracula starts with the Three Sisters as minions. Use Spike, Darla, and Drusilla pawns to represent the Sisters. They have 2 fight dice and 1 magic die, as normal vampires do. Start one on Drusilla’s start space, one on Spike’s, and one on Darla’s. The Sisters have eight life points apiece. Dracula is able to summon other minions normally.

Special Artifact:

Dracula has no Story Artifact. Use four regular artifacts instead.

Evil Objective:

Destroy or sire Buffy.

Good Set-up:

Substitute Riley for Oz. Riley has 2 fight dice and one magic die. He has 8 life points, and becomes wounded when reduced to 5 life points. When moving, Riley rolls an extra movement die. When attacking, Riley can choose to spend one life point to roll one additional attack die. Riley can carry the same number and types of cards as Buffy. Riley starts in the Lowell House elevator, with a weapon card.

Whenever Riley is wounded, he may return to the Adam Start square in the Initiative for treatment. For every turn that Riley remains on this square without moving or fighting, he regains one life point, up to his maximum. (Riley can use Help or Research cards while recuperating.)

Good Objective:

Destroy Dracula.


The Riley help card cannot be used in this scenario; if drawn, discard it.

If Dracula is reduced to X life points by normal damage, he is not considered killed and will re-form with 5 life points on his next turn. The Evil player decides where Dracula will re-form; roll his movement dice to determine the maximum distance from the square he was killed that Dracula can be placed on. In the turn he re-forms, Dracula cannot move or attack, but his minions can. If it is daylight, Dracula cannot re-form outside. If his movement dice roll does not allow him to reach cover, he is destroyed. To destroy Dracula, he must be dusted with a wooden weapon or trapped outdoors at sunrise.

Every time Dracula or one of his minions rolls a Moon Phase, he regains one life point, up to his maximum.

In addition to normal vampire-siring abilities, Dracula has the ability to hypnotize humans so that they are under his control. This control lasts until the player rolls a Moon Phase on his movement dice. To hypnotize a human, Dracula must attack and roll fangs according to the rules for siring a vampire. He can do this without a Sire a Vampire card. A human under his control will retain, but cannot use, Help and Research cards. He or she may continue to use Weapon or Artifact cards. A human under Dracula’s control should be treated as a sired vampire, except that he or she is still human. Restore Soul cards can be used to break Dracula’s control. A hypnotized human can be sired with one fang regardless of his or her Wounded status. Dracula cannot hypnotize a human carrying garlic or the cross weapon.

If all three Sisters surround a male human on three sides, and at least one of them rolls a fang on her attack dice, they may also hypnotize as per the rules for Dracula. All three Sisters do not need to attack for hypnosis to occur.

If an evil character attacks a hypnotized character (e.g., a Siring attempt fails), the hypnosis is broken and the character reverts to its original player’s control on his or her next turn.

You can download a PDF of this scenario from here.

Being a one-off villain (at least during the show), Dracula didn’t have any major agenda or big plan to destroy the world; he was just in town to see what sort of mischief he could get up to against the Slayer, but I had fun coming up with the game mechanics for a vampire who did things that other vampires couldn’t. And of course, he appeared in the first episode of the absolutely epic fifth season, and fans of the show know that the biggest Big Bad of all is coming up soon. And did I write a scenario for her?

Of course I did.

Teaser Tuesday 6/20/17: “MaddAddam”

This week I’m reading MaddAddam, the third part of Margaret Atwood‘s post-dystopian/post-apocalyptic trilogy that began with Oryx & Crake and continued with The Year of the Flood — although because Oryx & Crake and The Year of the Flood ran more or less concurrently, perhaps “continued” isn’t quite the right word. Let’s say “was expanded” instead.

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