A Scattering of Things, Most of Which are Unrelated
The final episode of Game of Thrones, Season 4 aired last night. Apparently, it’s longer than usual, weighing in at some 66 minutes. That adds some ten odd minutes to the show, apparently because they couldn’t edit the episode down any closer without sacrificing needed scenes or details. The showrunners, Benioff & Weiss have claimed that this will be one of the finest episodes of the show, ever. It’s an interesting claim, and I’m specifically avoiding the internet until such point as I can watch it for myself to judge.
Mind you, I’ve read the original books repeatedly, years before the show came to air, so there won’t be too many surprises. I know roughly what ground they will have to cover (and to be honest, I’d assumed that a couple of these would have been covered in Episode 9, which has been the traditional place for the massive plot reveals), so it will be interesting to see how it’s dealt with. And given the way this season has unfolded, I’m wondering if there will be any new details or events that weren’t covered in the books. I mean, we already got info on the Night’s King, so maybe there will be something of similar import.
Included with relevant Game of Thrones news is the recent release of yet another Gardner Dozois anthology, which has become the standard platform for Martin to release new Westerosi fiction. The first two ‘Dunk & Egg’ novellas were released in other anthologies, but The Mystery Knight, The Princess and the Queen, and The Rogue Prince have been in the three cross-genre anthologies. While the ‘Dunk & Egg’ series deals with the adventures of Aegon the Unlikely as a squire, the newest two novellas (Princess and Queen, Rogue Prince) deal with the earlier period of history when a civil war broke out within the Tagaryen dynasty, a time referred to as ‘The Dance of Dragons’ (and not to be confused with the most recent ASoIaF novel).
How does this tie back to RPG’s? Well, I’ve spent a lot of time reading and re-reading Martin’s books and short fiction as a means to try to make sense of his world and the way the characters and ruling houses fit together. The books that most people know deal with a weird period of Westeros history, in that there isn’t a Targaryen king on the Iron Throne, and the atmosphere in the Seven Kingdoms has settled into an uneasy acceptance of another king’s rule. (Of course, anyone familiar with the deeper lore of the series and House Baratheon in particular will note that they do have a Targaryen lineage, as Robert’s grandmother was the daughter of Aegon the Unlikely. But I digress.) All of the previous stories deal with periods where the Targaryen kings are unchallenged and rule, for the most part, wisely.
It’s been my firm conviction that Westeros is George Martin’s personal campaign world, as the backdrop that he uses in the novels is incredibly detailed on extremely unimportant minutiae, the kind of which would organically grow out of a long-running campaign. As such, when I sit down to build a campaign set in that world, I want to be as aware of those sorts of minor aspects as I can, same as I would study the different parts of Sandpoint and Magnimar in a game set in Varisia or the city layout of Chiba, Japan, were I to run a game based on Neuromancer.
And well, I’m almost as much of a fanboy for A Song of Ice and Fire as I used to be for Star Wars. It’s just how I’m wired, I guess.
In other news, the Kickstarter for the updated Book of the Wyrm for Werewolf 20 has gone live. Naturally, it’s met its funding already, so we’re down to figuring out which stretch goals are going to be promised, listening to the various shills for cheap POD’s and t-shirts, and wondering how much they’ll miss the shipping date by. They’ve taken to just promising a one year turnaround, instead of offering even more unreasonable lies to comfort their backers with.
Of the outstanding and undelivered product, we’re about a month away from the one year anniversary of Changing Breeds for W20, and I’m doubting that it’s going to show up before August. We just hit the one year mark for Exalted 3rd Edition, and our most recent updates still talk about sections being written and playtested. Current estimates put it as being ready to print sometime around October, at best guess. Given the way that Onyx Path has mangled their shipping in the past (there’s a fascinating update on the W20 page about how the guy that was supposed to handle getting the books sent out to the European backers managed to lose them when he moved into a new house), there’s every chance that we’ll hit a two year delivery on this damned thing.
So, generally what this means is that W20 only showed up some time in January of 2014, after having been funded in November of 2012. Between funding and delivery, they managed to kick another project, Changing Breeds, as of July of last year. That still hasn’t shown up, and now we’re looking at the plea for Book of the Wyrm, which we can be fairly certain will not show up by July of 2015.
And hilariously enough, there are plenty of White Wolf apologists that are shouting down the critics on the backer threads, as they desperately want to play the white knight for a company that repeatedly tries to soak them for more money without actually producing anything on a timely basis. Even as the company includes such stretch goals as ‘give these guys a vacation’ and ‘give these guys more money’, neither of which are apparently against Kickstarter terms of service.
I would say that I wonder about these people and the weirdly idealized world they claim to live in, but I’m not really blameless in any of this myself. I mean, most of the reason that I know as much as I do about the Exalted boondoggle is that I personally funded it.
Granted, I loathe myself for giving them money, as I’m pretty sure that the design direction that they’re intending to go in with the product is asinine and horrible. But at the same time, I’m willing to see if they can pull off any of the ideas that they sold as being this endeavor. At the end of it all, I’ll end up with a fiercely collectable book that I can later sell off without regret.