Sunday, March 30, 2008

Thomas Allen does cool shit with pulp covers

I've been on something of a pulp kick thanks to Spirit of the Century, and that lead me to this article on Thomas Allen, an artist who's been doing some very cool things with cut-up pulp novel covers and a camera with a really shallow depth of field (man, I love that effect).

There are more pictures available at this gallery site.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

[SotC] Ambrose Goodfellow: The Critic of Crime

I am hugely excited about Spirit of the Century, a pulp adventure roleplaying game based on the deeply brilliant Fate system. I still haven't gotten a chance to play the game yet, but, by God, it looks like fun. I'm hoping to it for my Tuesday night crew (shout out to Brigid!), eventually.

Anyway, one of the really cool things about this system is that even the character creation is an extremely fun, fast-moving creative exercise. The centerpiece of any character is a list of ten "Aspects", traits created by the player which describe the character's identity, background, personality, possessions, mottos--everything that defines the character's nature and shtick beyond the usual mechanical skill rankings and such. But these Aspects do actually have mechanical weight! They can both help and hinder a character whenever they might logically apply to a situation.

If you've got an Aspect along the lines of "lives in the woods", then you can use it for a bonus when attempting to do things like follow tracks, identify mushrooms, hide in foliage, or anything else you might reasonably apply it to. The main limitation is that you've gotta spent a "Fate Point" to use an Aspect. And where it gets completely brilliant is the way you get Fate Points: by letting your Aspects be used against you. So when your backwoods hermit is in the big city and interacting with big city people, the GM can offer you a Fate Point to do or say something inappropriate. And you can refuse . . . but only if you spent a Fate Point instead of taking one.

Anyway, it looks like a huge amount of fun, and I'm jonesing for it so badly that I'm making characters I'll probably never do anything with. Here's my latest, a guy who's kinda supposed to be a pistol-packing, mystery-solving, slightly Oscar Wilde-ish art critic.

Ambrose Goodfellow
The Critic of Crime

• "Dead men tell tales."
• dressed fashionably and impeccably
• friends in low places
• lust for secrets
• magnificent bastard
• notorious indiscretions
• pearl-handled revolver
• rapier wit
• sexual invert
• too famous for prison

+5 - Art
+4 - Empathy
+4 - Investigation
+3 - Guns
+3 - Rapport
+3 - Resolve
+2 - Contacting
+2 - Deceit
+2 - Academics
+2 - Resources
+1 - Alertness
+1 - Athletics
+1 - Drive
+1 - Intimidation
+1 - Stealth

• The Artist's Eye (This allows him to guess personal things about someone by examining their creative works.)
• Five Minute Friends (He can make friends very quickly.)
• Razor Tongue (He can craft the perfect insult to enrage or manipulate someone.)
• Poison Words (His insults can sway the opinion of a whole crowd against a person.)
• Quick Eye (He can quickly scan a scene for clues.)

I mentioned that funny-looking dog, right?

This is Harvey.

He's an American Hairless Terrier, so he's supposed to look like that. We named him after Harvey Dent. My mom sent us that hat for him, because she is a sweet lady, and she hasn't got any grandkids yet.

I promise this will not be a "pictures of my pets" blog.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Some stuff from my Flickr account

I have a tragically-neglected Flickr account. I'm gonna try and post more stuff there. Also, to actually take some damned photos from time to time.
Handful of Smoke
Beavis in Box
Bike Wheel and Street Marking
Crispy Green
Asphalt on Steel
Checkerboard Tape

YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS: Tom Waits - Lucinda

Right, so I happened to listen to Tom Waits' "Lucinda" at work today, and I decided that you need to listen to it too. By God, it is good stuff. It's from Tom's awesome 2006 three-disc set, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (specifically, it's off the Brawlers disc).
Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
Anyway, yeah, Tom Waits is great.

Oh, damn it; I think I need a blog.

I am absurdly late to the game, largely because when blogs first showed up, I had a website where I made newsposts by just editing the HTML by hand (NoteTab Light for the win!) and uploading it with a damn FTP client, like a proper harder-core-than-thou Web fogey. But since then my free webhosting dried up, and I haven't had a meaningful Web presence in years (which, by my own admission, is seriously like not being a real person). And now I'm getting into Google Reader, so I'm forced to admit there's a place in my life for blogs. And I'm starting to think that there's stuff I want to say, so I'm forced to admit that maybe there's a place in my life for a blog. God damn it.

I've actually looked at Blogger before--especially since Google bought it, as I really am a shameful Google fanboy--but all those identical goddamned "hay guys i picked a template from a list" Blogger blogs scared me the hell away. It was only a few days ago I found out these freaking things are actually customizable. Well, damn. That changes everything.

In the near future, I hope to customize the living crap out of this thing. Probably gradually. And I'll post on it when I can. It'll probably all be brain diarrhea about roleplaying games and such. I really just want to have something I can point random Internet people to and say "This is who I am." Which is probably stupid, but I'm not certain yet.

To start, my name is Matt Sheridan. I'm a graphic designer and a huge roleplaying / comics / video game geek. I'm married to Charlie Spike Trotman (creator of Templar, Arizona). I grew up in Medford, Massachusetts (although I generally just tell people it was Boston, which is close enough), but I've lived Chicago since 2001. More honestly, I live on the goddamned Internet. I have a very funny-looking dog named Harvey. I think life is awesome and pretty much always getting better.