Author Archives: Adam Dickson

Mag Blast – Who says fleet-wide battles have to be epically long?

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The order comes down from the command ship, “Quickly, move the destroyer to the hole in the fleet on our starboard side.” Laser blasts dart from the enemy dreadnought but the destroyer careens through space and arrives just in time to absorb the direct hit of the blast, but the onslaught isn’t over yet. A squadron of fighters launches from a carrier hidden away at the rear of the enemy’s fleet. Rocket engines propel the fighters in strafing runs over the hull of the damaged destroyer, the onslaught too much for the wounded ship it explodes, once again leaving that sector of the fleet undefended.

Let’s Play Hanabi

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So, we’ve all been thrust into the role of firework makers. But sadly we’ve cracked under the pressure it seems and have screwed up the display! Wait, we can fix this, we have to put it back together using these cards to represent the fireworks. Just match them up by suit in numerical order and we are all good. What is this, a kids game? Oh, there’s a twist, we can’t look at our own cards? So everyone here will hold their cards face out, meaning that everyone knows what each other has except their own hand. We’ll try to reconstruct the fireworks (playing the cards in order) by giving out clues and remembering the clues that are given to us.

When the name alone gets you to play, Unexploded Cow!

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You and your buddies are trying to think of a way to make some extra scratch. This is 1997 and you believe too many people are delving into the latest fad, this thing called ‘the internet’ and that’s not for you. Scanning the newspapers you see the headlines are filled with worries over mad cow disease and how millions of dollars of cows will have to be wasted. You figure there’s got to be something you can do with them… Cow pie Bingo? Nope, the profit margins on bingo are too thin. Super Well Done Mad Cow Burgers? Nah, you’ll bet that “Where’s the Beef!” lady couldn’t even sell those.

More Canadian Sci-Fi from SyFy: Continuum

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Imagine you are a police officer in the year 2077, assigned as extra security during the execution of a handful of ‘terrorists’ that killed thousands of people in an attempt to assassinate the heads of major corporations that now run North America. You see something hinky going on as the condemned are being prepared to meet their end, so you run in to investigate and in a blinding flash of light you wake up in a decidedly different looking cityscape. Years of training kick in as you see one of the terrorists fleeing the strange scene you find yourself in.

In short order you capture him and learn you have been transported back in time 65 years. You are the only person alive who knows what these people are capable of. Killing thousands was nothing for them in the future where their opposition was prepared for them. Now they face an unsuspecting and ill prepared timeline where you are the only one with the knowledge and training to take them on.

Sounds exciting doesn’t it? Did SyFy’s latest offering, Continuum, do enough to be added to our list of must see shows?

Tasmanian Devils, SyFy Saturday Night Movie Preview

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If you have heard me on the podcast, you know I have a special place in my heart for B movies. Specifically the ones shown on SyFy on Saturday nights at 9pm. They are a glorious mix of ridiculousness, gore/action, and goofiness. My wife and I watch and giggle at how terrible they are, and we are able to do it with a clear conscious since no one involved in them can think they are making this generations Citizen Kane. (Gosh I hope not.)

Top 5 Things of 2012: The Adam Dickson Edition!

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We here at Perpetual Geek Machine think life as a nerd has been pretty spectacular in 2012. Great movies, games, tv shows and more. We’ve made friends with Nicole Kline, and then put her to work writing here! Rich got engaged, Dan bought a house. There’s a good chance Ryan and/or Bryan did something adorably Canadian. Kevin spent most of the year brewing beer and Adam made it through the latest Mayan apocalypse mostly unscathed!

Just like last year to celebrate the end of this trip round the sun we got together to run down our top 5 favorite things of the year. We then presented those during part 1 of our spectacular year end podcast. In part 2 of that podcast we whittle out lists down to a Top 5 to represent the site as a whole, and then 1 singular item that is Perpetual Geek Machine’s favorite thing of 2012. Last year The Muppets was our winner. What will take the crown this year? Listen to the podcast to find out!

Are you new to Doctor Who too? #NewToWho

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A note from future Adam… I started writing this article several weeks ago before the onslaught of “Doctor Who’s new season is almost here!” articles started hitting the web. Sometimes timing works out since this article folds in nicely to BBC’s #newtowho campaign on twitter, even if it’s a bit more long form than they intended. Now, back to my original timeline…

Lately I’ve been trying to fill a gaping hole in my geek/nerd background. I have never really watched Doctor Who. I didn’t have a reason for it… it just kinda happened. A while ago I do remember seeing the “Eric Roberts as The Master” made for TV movie. Maybe that kinda tainted the whole universe for me.

Anywho, I digress… I fired up the Netflix app on my Tivo and jumped in. I had been blissfully ignorant about specifics of the Doctor Who universe so I got to start out on the ground floor. All I knew was he is something called a Time Lord and he travels in time having adventures. That, and there is something that shouts EXTERMINATE in a robotic sounding voice. I’m sure that won’t end up being important, right?

Adieu Eureka

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Last week another science fiction show was cancelled while it still had stories to tell. The latest victim was Eureka, a SyFy channel original show. Unlike some of the recently popular dramatic shows in this genre, Eureka didn’t worry about taking itself too seriously. Don’t get me wrong, the science is A+ technobabble that helped generate award winning special effects. But, something downright ridiculous and funny happened every week.

Plunder for gold in Scallywags! ARRRRRRRR!

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Who doesn’t like talking like a pirate, and everyone should love it on September 19th, but it’s more fun when it’s done with a purpose. Enter Scallywags, a quick game appropriate for youngsters and adults alike. If you’ve ever wanted to plundering without the risk of walking the plank, here is your chance. And on this raid you can bring the kids along!

Let’s dive into Scallywags, and afterwards listen to game designer Chevee Dodd talk about his game on our podcast!

Dungeons and Dragons book look: Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook

Into The Unknown - CoverI get handed the latest book from Wizards of the Coast, Into the Unknown: The Dungeon Survival Handbook. “Ah, another settings book,” I think to myself, “let’s see what they do with this one.” Flip to the table of contents and check out some of the sections… ‘Dungeon Denizens’, makes sense. ‘Character Themes’, of course they have to have that. ‘Top Five Rules of Dungeon Delving’.

Hmm.

That spawned the image of a goblinized version of David Letterman sitting behind a stone desk tossing blue scrolls over his shoulder. I’ll check that out.

Page 72… number 1 item in their list, Don’t split the party. I immediately well up with pride since I find myself saying that at least every other play session. If my second most quoted rule of Always pat down the bodies had been on the list I swear I would have cried. As it is, the list is great for players. Would the rest of the book be as useful?

Hey, you got your Nerdist in my Perpetual Geekery!

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For one night only, some of your friends here at Perpetual Geek Machine went nerd, well, Nerdist to be precise. In his unannounced quest to become king of all nerd media Chris Hardwick has been taking his Nerdist podcast on the road, and this past Friday it landed in the City of Brotherly Love.

Dungeons and Dragons book: Player’s Option: Heroes of the Elemental Chaos

dnd_products_dndacc_356170000_pic3_enThe latest in the Player’s Option series finds us travelling to the Plane of Elemental Chaos. Where the last two books gave us a great deal of flavorful and intricate options, this one deals with the baser, primordial ones.

Players, ever wonder where those elementals come from that get conjured just as you get close to the evil wizard? DMs of higher level campaigns, tired of using the cliché “super-powerful evil cleric run amok” or “this quest is the will of the gods” as a plot device? Give elemental prince primordials a try as a source of adventure.

If you find yourself wanting to play a character/NPC that is the embodiment of the meme, “Kill it with fire” this is your book, read on…

A look at the Dungeons and Dragons: Heroes of the Feywild options book

dnd_products_dndacc_317310000_pic3_enNo matter what flavor of Dungeons and Dragons you play, the game is rooted in fantasy. I’m willing to bet that most of us were introduced to the world of fantasy in the same way, through Fairy Tales told to us when we were tiny children.

Witches casting spells on innocent little girls. Magical beasts frolic in mythical forests. Animal monsters prowl the countryside looking for a tasty meal. Players Option: Heroes of the Feywild capitalizes on these themes beautifully.

I will admit, for the longest time when I heard ‘Feywild’ I would just think fairies and cuteness, but flipping through the introductory chapter really got my creative juices flowing with awesome ideas for both characters and adventures.

The book serves to give the player more options to creating a compelling character, similar to the Heroes of Shadow book that came out a few months back. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Fitocracy seems to click in my geek brain.

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Here we are in the time of year that everyone are making resolutions. Just about everyone I talk to that brings up their New Year’s resolution says it is to lose weight. If that is your goal too, fitocracy.com is a site that may be able to help.

Oil and water, matter and anti-matter, geeks and working out, all these things could never be combined right? Wrong say the brains behind Fitocracy.com! Geeks can be coaxed out of basements and comic shops and into the gyms if they are given the proper incentive. These guys have merged online RPGs and physical fitness into a beta test that has gotten my ass to the gym more in the last few weeks than the previous four years altogether.

Review: The Shadowfell, Gloomwrought & Beyond Box Set

Last month Wizards of the Coast gave D&D players Heroes of Shadows, a tome full of anti-heroes to play. After whetting our appetites with the darker side of heroism, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t interested in exploring the potential of the shadow a bit more. Luckily Wizards of the Coasts must be mind-readers (or took a feat in it) cause they followed up that excellent book with a full box set!

This month they give Dungeon Masters a setting for those questionable characters to feel right at home in.

Until now the Shadowfell, the dark and imperfect plane which is meant as a reflection of the natural realm, has been a place talked about only in muted whispers. With the release of The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond it comes into focus… gloomy, unnerving focus.

If you want a little darkness in your D&D campaign, whether for a couple adventures or a full-fledged story arc, you will want to pick it up

Behind the Screen: March of the Phantom Brigade session 10

Monday night I sat in my study preparing for Wednesday’s session of Encounters. Unfortunately, I was dwelling on the negative. I was disappointed in my ability to get the players to connect with Splintershield in the first half of the season. If I had, then his death would have been more than just a plot device; it would have inspired the players to have their characters live on the edge in defense of their home(s) instead of just going through the paces of the adventure.
This week sets up the rest of the season and is integral in getting the players to buy in to what happens (or could happen) at the climax. If I do this right, it will result in a much more satisfying conclusion to thirteen weeks of work. The challenge for this session is to make sure I role play all my ideas instead of merely turning the first part of this encounter into an info dump. Here is what I planned:

A look Behind the Screen – March of the Phantom Brigade


I am enjoying running this season of encounters. Big chunks of time between chapters are something new and leave openings for players to add history to their character as they grow. The story is good and I like that they get to face their recurring enemy often, unlike last season when it was eight weeks before they had an encounter with their foil.

I do have a couple requests for the future. Hopefully they could add just a few more paragraphs of information to enhance the story and roleplaying experience. Hammerfast is called a necropolis once in the module. In the adventure summary the plot for this week is revealed as “Vladistone turns the ghosts of Hammerfast against its citizens” but the magnitude of the ghost population is never really revealed until after the boxed text for this session. Just a paragraph or two from the Hammerfast supplement that was released a few years ago would be helpful. A player on his or her toes in week one may have asked, why is Hammerfast a Necropolis? The module does not provide this information. I know as a player I would have gotten much more satisfaction if a big hint got dropped week one that I had a shot at putting together for the future so come week nine we are not caught totally off guard.

March of the Phantom Brigade Chapter 2 Recap

Chapter Two of March of the Phantom Brigade started off on a high. Six full months of prosperity rolled out for the settlers of New Inverness. Despite the dire warnings of Salazar Vladistone, a soldierly ghost that approached the ruins after the cleansing ritual, the people of the settlement were unmolested by any spirits. The group even gained another companion, Fargrim a dwarf who follows the way of the woodlands.

Members of the party spent those months training with newly developed skills that they earned during the founding of New Inverness. The time was good for everyone, everyone but Faldyra. She became a bit of a drunk under Niveus’ tutelage since she was unable to find a way into the ghost tower. Everything was going fine for the town until…

“March of the Phantom Brigade” Chapter 1 Conclusion Recap

We haven’t had an update for a while, sorry about that avid readers. I’ll wrap up the first chapter, session four, and give a mega chapter-sized update, sessions five through eight, this weekend.  A lot has happened in the last few months in and around the new Village of Inverness, I wonder if everyone has survived?

Trolls from Arkansas invade New Jersey for Troll-Con East 2011

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend some of Troll Lord Games Troll-Con East 2011 held at All Things Fun comic shop. It was a fun time that delivered on what was promised, Dungeons and Dragons type game play with a lighter rule set.

We were run through an adventure by Stephen Chenault, author of the Castle Keepers Guide (their DMG). We had a fun and boisterous group and Steve let us go with the flow. He didn’t bat an eye when our bard announced his lute was reinforced on the back with iron and he wanted to use that as a club. For some reason the halfling druid I played carried a didgeridoo. Personally I know I’m going to love any gaming system that has didgeridoo in the core books equipment list.