Ahsoka Tano, Brotherhood, Mercenaries and Mutations!

Chris Van Deelen

Tomorrow marks the end of October and it’s Halloween! How many of you folks are dressing up for work, to hand out candy or just because? It should come as no surprise to anyone I’ll be wearing my armor at work tomorrow.  It feeds the inner exhibitionist, as there are going to be a TON of people who get to see my prize possession!

Also tomorrow marks the last week this year and probably for good I will be posting three creatures for New Mutant Monday. As long as I didn’t screw up my calculations, writing up two a week until the end of December will reach the magical 104 creatures.

Wow… that’s 208 new monsters for folks to use for Gamma World or Mutant Future over the past two years, and that doesn’t include the 300 I wrote up for my Entertainment conversions.

Oh and here are the three I posted last week… Fuzzy Trappers, Mantii, and the Thin Hunter. Three more, as promised are going up tomorrow. One believe it or not was NOT inspired by a superhero… instead from a picture I happened to come across on Deviantart. Warning… what has been seen cannot be unseen.

I also started work on the mystery novel last week, and with it being Nanoramo next month, I’ll be putting in some serious time and effort over the next thirty days. Two years ago I write just over 80,000 words in one month. I won’t even TRY to compare to that total this year, I’ll just do my best to break the 50,000 word mark.

And no, I can’t really say a damn thing about it at this time. Hell I probably won’t be able to for several months.

So anyhow, no rants this week, and I’m sure my readers will be pleased by that. Although – for my American friends, your election is damn close. What a fucking gong show this has turned out to be. Scary and entertaining all at once.

Glad I’m Canadian.

Although I do find it exceedingly disturbing the number of posts I have been seeing about Russia preparing for war… I hope it’s just the typical internet bullshit!

Last week I started a new addition to my weekly blog, and it is all about aspects of the old Gamma World I loved. I talked about Cryptic Alliances or Factions, and this week I’ll talk about Mutations.

To me, Mutations were one of the best aspect of the game. Your character had superpowers! Well it could be detrimental as well, if you had defects… but they were always kind of like permanent spells in Fantasy. Abilities you had which you could use at will, certain times of the day and so forth.

I think that was what really appealed to me all those years ago, and the fact it was so random! Unlike my mutation books, which have an optional point-buy system, you really never knew what you were going to get. Sometimes the roll of the dice gave you game-breaking awesomeness, while other times a cranky boy scout with a sling-shot could end your life in one encounter.

There are both good and bad aspects to this. Depending on the way the GM ran the game, you could get new mutations as you played through radiation, drugs etc. This was kind of the bad aspect – too many mutations and the character was ridiculous. And unless the GM had ways to get rid of mutations, you were pretty much stuck with them.

Unlike spells in fantasy games, which you could change at will – well at least daily if you’re talking old school D&D.

The good thing? You have superpowers! And it is kind of hard to get rid of them, unlike spell-books which can be destroyed or lost or what have you. And depending on the system you play, you can have really, really high-powered mutations through pure luck, unlike fantasy, which you need to gain levels to use.

Oh yeah! And let’s not forget the fact you don’t need spell components or verbalization to use mutations – unless its sound-based like a sonic scream! And some mutations such as mental, AKA psionic will typically have not visible aspects to them.

Really though, when it comes right down to it, Spells are superior due to the fact they can be changed as often as you wish.

There you have it, my second little essay on various aspects of post-apocalyptic games. There will be another one next week.

No new releases this week, although Skirmisher has a mess of horror-themed titles on sale at Drivethrurpg. This would be a really good time for folks to pick some titles up!

As you probably already know, I started a new job a month ago, doing exactly what I love – small deliveries. The great aspect is I get to listen to my books while I drive, and this week I finished three more.

One was awesome, one was disappointing, and the final was a good way to end a trilogy. The first book I want to discuss is Brotherhood of the Wheel by R. S. Belcher. This is an urban fantasy, although I would be more likely to call it a Rural Fantasy. Imagine if you will an organization consisting of Truckers, Bikers and Cops, as well as many others who ply the great network of highways across the nation for a living. Now imagine these men and women are out there not only doing their jobs, but helping to keep people safe from monsters and human monsters.

That is the whole aspect of this novel and it seriously hooked me! I had one issue with it, and it involved a minor character who happened to be a were-possum, but I was able to get past it and really enjoy the novel.

Best aspect of this book was how quickly I came to give a damn about the main characters!

Oh yeah, if you like urban fantasy, read this book!

The second book which kind of disappointed me was Star Wars: Ahsoka by E. K. Johnston. Ahsoka Tano is a character who happened to be Anakin Skywalker’s Padiwan. She was introduced in the first Clone Wars movie and continued to appear in The series and even showed up in Rebels.

I was quite eager to listen to this book because I really like the character. It was a nice little filler story which took place between Clone Wars and Rebels, and did a little to flesh out the character, but I found it kind of lacking. I don’t know, maybe I was too hyped for it? Maybe I enjoyed Brotherhood of the Wheel too much?

Yes if you’re a Star Wars fan and like Ahsoka, then read it. If not… maybe pass it by.

The third book I finished last week was Cutters Wars: The Tejano Conflict by Steve Perry. The novel is about a group of mercenaries who are hired to fight a small conflict over of all things water rights on Earth.

The novel is the third and final in the series, as Steve Perry wrote a definite end, and I’m kind of disappointed by that. I rather like the characters, and I also enjoyed the plots and the twists in each novel.

I would recommend this book.

And that’s pretty much it for this week.

Have a great Halloween folks, stay warm and happy and try not to rot your teeth or get diabetes! At least if the latter happens, take it from personal experience – the needles don’t hurt!