Omnium Gatherum: February 10, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for February 10, 2019

  • Tweet by Patton Oswalt

  • Ursula K. Le Guin Was a Creator of Worlds” — Julie Phillips, Humanities; about the documentary Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin by Arwen Curry [HT Arts & Letters Daily]

    “… Le Guin chose this ‘despised, marginal’ genre, she once said, for a reason she couldn’t acknowledge to herself at the time: Because it was “excluded from critical, academic, canonical supervision, leaving the artist free.””

  • Sex Robot Cuddle Party by David Raffin

    Raffin Sex Robot Cuddle Party

    “Sex Robot Cuddle Party is presented as a lost novel by the son of the author, a pornographer and a communist. He infuses his creative work with political discourses.

    It tells the story of RainyDay Tranquility, captain of the corporate surveying vessel Queen of Space, as she travels with her crew visiting dead worlds. In the future human touch has been rendered deadly.

    Later, she is transported inside her favorite book, Cuddle Party, which she loves because, in it, two people fall asleep touching.

    Sex Robot Cuddle Party is a comedy of loneliness, desire, and longing; and a tragedy of love requited.

    A loving homage to new wave sci-fi, absurdist theater, and erotica of the early seventies; featuring existentialist philosophy, Atheism, Greek Gods, artificial intelligence, and the miracle of fungi, in which all things are possible dreamt or un-dreamt.”

  • Neuroscientists close in on the brain signature for consciousness” — Rich Maridy, New Atlas

    “The research involved over 150 subjects, who were studied using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Some subjects scanned were patients in diagnosed vegetative states, while others were healthy individuals. The researchers ultimately discovered four specific neural activity patterns that could distinguish a person’s place on a spectrum from conscious to unconscious.”

  • Fish pass self-awareness test for the first time, raising questions about animal consciousness” — Michael Irving, New Atlas

    “It might not seem like a big deal, but the ability to recognize that the face in the mirror is your own makes us part of a pretty exclusive club in the animal kingdom. Humans obviously can do it (from about 15 months of age), and so can apes, monkeys, dolphins, elephants, and some birds. Now a fish species has passed the mirror test for the first time, which may suggest that the animals are smarter than we give them credit for.

    While these results suggest that fish are self-aware, the team isn’t jumping straight to that conclusion – perhaps they’re using other mental processes to figure it out. The fact that the fish have aced the mirror test is so surprising that the researchers are now questioning the validity of the test itself.”

  • “Immigrant Song” (Live) – The Cybertronic Spree

    “Robot rockstars in disguise, The Cybertronic Spree pay tribute to all time greats, LED ZEPPELIN. Talk about a bunch of bots who like to stay topical am I right?

    The Cybertronic Spree is a band of Transformers who perform classic cartoon, videogame, and anime theme songs at full volume.”

Omnium Gatherum: February 5, 2019

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for February 5, 2019

  • Finding Lena, the Patron Saint of JPEGs” — Linda Kinstler, WIRED

    “Every morning, Lena Forsen wakes up beneath a brass-trimmed wooden mantel clock dedicated to “The First Lady of the Internet.”

    It was presented to her more than two decades ago by the Society for Imaging Science and Technology, in recognition of the pivotal—and altogether unexpected—role she played in shaping the digital world as we know it.”

  • Tweet by Dick King-Smith HQ

  • Biohackers Encoded Malware in a Strand of DNA” — Andy Greenberg, WIRED [HT Geoff Manaugh]

    “… a group of researchers from the University of Washington has shown for the first time that it’s possible to encode malicious software into physical strands of DNA, so that when a gene sequencer analyzes it the resulting data becomes a program that corrupts gene-sequencing software and takes control of the underlying computer.”

  • Secrets of Silent Streets by Monte Cook; due in February, is, afaik, the first component for Invisible Sun that’s available for purchase separately as a digital download, and not even the game itself is available separately from the premium Black Cube [also]; also due in print in March

    Cook Invisible Sun Secrets of Silent Streets

    “Secrets of Silent Streets is a guide to this vast, rich, and unique city—the epicenter of the orders of magic and, to many, the very center of the Actuality. Visit the Great Observatory of Zuin, where mystical astronomers equate the movement of the stars with the ebbs and flows of magic. Meet the Phalanx of Liquid Granite, who have turned absurdity magic into a martial art. Enter the Citrine Court, a secret conclave of vislae devoted to transforming themselves—physically and metaphorically—into famous novels from Shadow.

    These are just a few of the experiences you’ll discover as you travel the seventeen districts of Satyrine and beyond, each detailed through dozens of points of interest and illuminated through its own unique atmosphere, social expectations, and traditions. Along the way you’ll find scores of plot hooks, NPCs, creatures—and of course plenty of magic.”

    “Like any metropolis in any realm, Satyrine isn’t one city but many. Fartown, the Marquis Quarter, the Strangeglass District, the Hollows, and the vast abandoned stretches—all offer different experiences and moods as well as unique landmarks, resources, denizens, and dangers. Secrets of Silent Streets is a guide to this vast, rich, and unique city—the epicenter of the Orders of Magic and the very center of the Actuality. Travel the seventeen districts of Satyrine, each detailed through dozens of points of interest and illuminated through its own unique atmosphere, social expectations, and traditions. And along the way find scores of plot hooks, NPCs, creatures, and of course loads of magic.”

  • Humble RPG Book Bundle Numenera by Monte Cook Games is in its last day, and includes, even at the $1 tier, both of the very recently crowdfunded Discovery and Destiny core books, and lots more. Honestly, I know I probably won’t ever play Numenera, but it was tempting enough to grab these to add to what I already have. I came for the Discovery and Destiny core books, and stayed for Shanna Germain’s Love and Sex in the Ninth World

    Monte Cook Humble Bundle Numenera

    “You’re invited to the world of Numenera, a tabletop roleplaying game of exploration and discovery set a billion years in the future. The game is easy to learn and fun to play with this bundle of digital corebooks, adventures, bestiaries, maps, guides, and more. The Ninth World awaits you!”

  • Sunless Skies [also] by Failbetter Games has released

    “SAIL THE STARS. BETRAY YOUR QUEEN. MURDER A SUN. Sunless Skies is a Gothic Horror roleplay game with a focus on exploration and exquisite storytelling for PC, Mac and Linux.”

    Failbetter Games Sunless Skies

Character progression isn’t fun

You may be playing the wrong game, at the wrong table, with the wrong group if …

You gain enough experience to level up your character, but when you look at all the cool and interesting new character and narrative driven things you could do now, you realize that none if it will ever happen in your game because everything that happens in the roleplaying game at your table is tactical wargaming. So, you give up and decide to minmax, as that’s all that matters.

Last 48 hours to back Matthew Lowe’s Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground

Already fully funded, but in the final 48 hours, stand-alone sequel to Labyrinth of Souls, Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground is something of interest.

Lowes Vandel Dungeon Solitaire Devil's Playground-48-hours

Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground is a new stand-alone Dungeon Solitaire game that can also be used as an expansion deck for the Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls tarot card game. The game is once again designed and written by Matthew Lowes and illustrated by artist Josephe Vandel. Delve into the deepest corner of the darkest dungeon with the Devil’s Playground stand-alone game, or use the Devil’s Playground cards and rulebook to expand your Labyrinth of Souls games in a variety of ways. You will experience new challenges and unexpected surprises with every delve.

Starmancer

I’ve been watching tweets about Starmancer for a while now, and it has always looked really awesome and interesting. But just now, today, the crowdfunding campaign has started.

You are a Starmancer, a human who has irreversibly fused their brain and body into a machine.

You play these games for the stories that you can tell about your station. We want to place you in a living world that feels tangible and gives your station purpose, without restricting your freedom of choice.

We also designed Starmancer around the idea of consequences, “cause and effect”. When something bad happens, it should be because you failed to prevent it. It’s not fun when a random dice roll causes your colony to fail. You should be able to learn from your mistakes.

Paint the Future

New trailer for Chevy Ray’s Ikenfell featuring the track Paint the Future. Also, apparently, I’ve been mispronouncing this game title? Oops.

With a brand new song by Aivi Tran & Surasshu!
Vocals & lyrics by Sammus!

In this turn-based RPG with a tactical twist, you’ll explore a vast magic school full of colorful characters, monsters, puzzles, and mysteries!

Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground

Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground is a new crowdfunding effort for a “dungeon-delving adventure game with custom illustrated cards.” It’s by Matthew Lowes with illustrations by Josephe Vandel, and is a follow-up to the tarot-like card game Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls.

A new Dungeon Solitaire game,
Where your soul is the devil’s playground …

Dungeon Solitaire is a narrative fantasy card game. With each turn you defeat monsters, disarm traps, and open doors as you delve the depths of a dark dungeon. The original game, Tomb of Four Kings, used a standard deck of playing cards, and is still available free on my website. The followup tarot game, Labyrinth of Souls, was launched with a hugely successful Kickstarter. That game has gone on to win even more fans and has inspired a series of stand-alone novels published by ShadowSpinners Press. Now we’re launching a new Dungeon Solitaire game called Devil’s Playground!

Dungeon Solitaire: Devil’s Playground is a new stand-alone Dungeon Solitaire game that can also be used as an expansion deck for the Dungeon Solitaire: Labyrinth of Souls tarot card game. The game is once again designed and written by Matthew Lowes and illustrated by artist Josephe Vandel. Delve into the deepest corner of the darkest dungeon with the Devil’s Playground stand-alone game, or use the Devil’s Playground cards and rulebook to expand your Labyrinth of Souls games in a variety of ways. You will experience new challenges and unexpected surprises with every delve.

Soundscapes from the Underground

Soundscapes from the Underground, presented by Ratking, written & produced by Satyr Productions, is a new release that may be of interest.

Hear me, Paladins! Come hither, mighty Barbarians! Eyes to me, Rangers, Rogues, Priests, and Mages! Tary, please, and stay with me a while as I play for you a melody of subterranean adventure. The sounds of underground seas teaming with vicious finned and many-teethed water beasts. Moaning stones that reflect the sounds of dwarven craft, deep Stygian voids which obscure the most terrible and unmentionable of dark and evil things, and the muted, grating sound of chains being drug across the craggy jagged floors of some unseeable, unknowable depth. Close your eyes and do your best to keep your wits as I sing to you the Soundscapes of the Underground.

This 36-track album contains over 10-hours of enemy-, mood-, and location-specific music meant to enhance your underground campaigns and immerse your players in the game. Written and Produced entirely by Satyr Productions and released in partnership with Rat King Games, this first foray into tabletop gaming music is intended to be the first of many and is offered to the fantasy role-playing community as proof we can deliver some of the best sound in the business. If well-received, more will follow. Enjoy!

A NOTE ON USE: If you’re a streamer and you want to use this music in your game, we only request that you credit us. We repeat: if you buy this album, you can use it to make other things. There are SOME very reasonable restrictions. They are outlined in the license agreement included in your purchase. Please read it.