Monday, April 18, 2016


Now that I don't have to concern myself with the A-to-Z Blog Challenge I can get on to more pressing matters.

What I am running, and with whom...

This is a bit like my past 'State of Gaming' addresses, but with the purpose of helping me to organize my thoughts as opposed to entertaining you my audience (My apologizes. Honestly, I haven't forgotten about you. I'll try to be entertaining anyway).

We begin with...

Dan's Group, and The Masked Age 66':

Following a pretty successful first arc of three, consecutive, Friday night sessions, we are going to alternate the campaign to every other Friday night going forward. On the nights I don't run, my friend Alex is running a Harry Potter/Wizarding World/Hogwarts game in which I am a player.

I am really liking the Hogwarts game a lot so I have no problem switching off. Basically it amounts to playing a Harry Potter game twice a month, and running Silver Age Superheroes with a Twist twice a month. I am absolutely good with that.

Oh course, the Superhero game is not without it's bumps. It's a tough group to please in some respects. I'm hopeful however.

The Google Hangouts Group, Kapow!, and Galaxy Quest!:

Whoohoo! I am super excited about this.

For about two years now my friend Keith has been running a really cool Superhero RPG called Kapow! in his own homebrew world. I have played a number of characters in the setting, but for the longest time now I've been using a Superhero named Equinox.

Equinox is actually a very old character I helped my friend Sergio create waaay back before we even knew about RPGs. When I discovered Villains & Vigilantes in 1982 we made up Equinox for a game, and he was so cool I decided to remake him for Kapow!

I've stepped in a few times as GM to cover Keith when he had a family thing, or had to otherwise miss a session (which in two years has been maybe three times. It is exceptionally rare). When I run, the players play a different group of heroes on my alternate setting of Earth-F-Omega, a variant on the Mutants and Masterminds Freedom City* Universe by Green Ronin.

I filled in with an Earth-F-Omega session three weeks ago, and ended up continuing the story even as Keith came in to join us. Tomorrow will be my last session of the arc. Keith then goes away on vacation for two weeks ( ! ), so I offered to run something else. Something different. That's when things got really interesting...

Keith proposed that going forward one of us (he, or I) would run a game for several sessions, or perhaps a month or so, and then the other would take over and do the same. He will be continuing Kapow!, while I plan on a Science Fiction/Space Opera type series. As a test run, I will be GMing a short Galaxy Quest adventure over the two weeks Keith is gone.

More details as I have them. Very excited to get the best of both worlds out of my Wednesday night online game.

Last, but not least...

The Barking Alien Gaming Group, and What Comes Next:

It's been well over a month since I've met with the players in my Barking Alien Gaming Group.

For a short while there it looked like that particular gaming group incarnation had run its course. Luckily, that is not the case. I had a nice sit down discussion with two of the players, and I'm going to try to redouble my efforts to make a game that works for this bunch. In exchange, one of the players will try to overcome a few of endearing habits...which often threaten to derail our games. The other player I spoke to will try to keep the first one on track, and act as an intermediary if the player, and I bump heads.

As I look at what I am running, and playing with the other groups I'm a part of, I have to say I'm pretty happy I'm getting the opportunity to run two of my favorite genres already. I'm running Superheroes with one, and I'll soon be running Space Opera/Adventure with the other. I don't need to run those with my monthly group. I am free to tackle something else.

But what?

Then it hit me, and if it didn't make so much sense I probably would've hit it back.

Aerth. My Dungeons & Dragons-But-Not setting of almost 35 years. Superheroic, Anime Influenced, Folklore Fueled [Vaguely] Medieval Fantasy.

System wise I won't be using any form of D&D however. I want to enjoy this. I'm going to be adapting Ars Magica for this campaign.

Yes. I'm going there.

Barking Alien

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Yeah. Forget it.

I have too much going on to work on this, and not nearly enough enthusiasm.

It's a shame. I really thought the initial idea was pretty sweet.

Oh well. Maybe some other time.

On to other things.

Barking Alien

Saturday, April 9, 2016


My ALIEN VACATION theme for this month's A-to-Z Blog Challenge? Well...

I'm reimagining it.

The truth is, I reimagined it starting from the very first post.

What I actually want to do is go back to my original idea. For some reason that I can't explain, for the first post of this series I wrote something that was not really what I wanted, or intended to write.

Unfortunately, once I wrote it, and posted it, it soured my enthusiasm for continuing. I knew what I wrote was not what I'd originally envisioned, and [honestly] I kind of hated it. As a result as I put off the project. I lost my focus, and my excitement over the whole thing. I'm sensitive that way.

To fix this situation I am declaring a do-over.

The old 'first entry' has been deleted.

What follows is the new first entry, and my proper attempt at completing the A-to-Z Blog Challenge for 2016.

Thank you for your time, and sorry for any confusion.

Barking Alien

Friday, April 1, 2016


It's April again, and you know what that means don't you? It's time for me to fail the A-to-Z Blog Challenge.

Yep, this time every year for the past few years I attempt to join the long, and varied list of bloggers who partake in the A-to-Z Challenge, only to find I am unable to complete it. Repeatedly. You'd think that after a while I would give up, not bother, and save myself the hassle.

You'd think.

Well, the fact of the matter is...

The fact of the matter is we're out of here!

Barkley? Where've you been lately? I was just making a post introducing this year's A-to-Z Challenge.

Yes, I heard as much. Sounds like a hoot. Luckily, it's not a concern. You my dear friend, and I, are going on vacation!


Vacation! I took the liberty of packing your bag for you, I have the blog on standby, the Emergency Holo-chronal Adam has been activated, my cousin has promised to come by three times a week to feed the unnamed horror living on Level 25M, and we are good to go!

What?...I can't. I have to...

Non-sense! One month, that's thirty days or so, traveling the galaxy aboard a Happy Hunting Tours star cruiser. I've rented us a personal exploratory saucer which can launch from the mothership, fly around for a closer look, or even land on any of the various planets the tour will visit.

We...we're going to other planets?

Yessiree! It's going to an incredible adventure! Just you,and me old chum (and the hundred or so other passengers on the star cruiser)! We're going to go to different worlds, see the creatures there, sentient life if there is any, and maybe check out some ancient ruins from bygone civilizations. That's more for you. I know you love that stuff.

Plus, the Happy Hunting Tours vessel has over a dozen restaurants from around the cosmos, at least five cantinas, three nightclubs, a zero-gee handball court, three swimming pools (although only one has Human safety compatible conditions), and much, much more. You are going to see, and do so many amazing things...

That I'll have tons of material for the A-to-Z Challenge! Barkley, you're a genius!

Well, I don't know about being a genius. Smart yes, and dashing for sure. I...wait a second. No, no, no! This isn't about...

This is perfect! It shows here on this computer pad that I can alphabetize the trip's itinerary. That means an A-to-Z listing of all the aliens, sites, food, EVERYTHING!

"Not what I had in mind..."

Oh boy...

Barkley my friend, I don't know how to thank you.

Neither do I.

I can't wait to get started!

A-to-Z Blog Challenge across the Milky Way, here we come!


Barking Alien

Wait...Happy Hunting Tours? Hmmm...

Oh, by the way...

Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Whole Lotta Supers Going On

What the heck happened to the month of March?!?

Seriously, this month just ran away from me like the Reverse-Flash running from Barry Allen. Like The Hand trying to skip out on a fight with Daredevil, and Elektra.

March came in all mild-mannered, and than changed it's clothes in a broom closet to take off faster than a speeding bullet!

Can you tell I have Superheroes on the brain?

What an amazing month it's been to be a Superhero fan, am I right? There has been a veritable butt load of Superhero TV shows, and events, movies, and gaming goodness. It hasn't all been astounding, but just the sheer volume, and scale of it is staggering.

I've been getting in on the four-color fun personally by running a lot of Superhero RPG awesomeness myself, and I couldn't be happier. Well, I guess I could always be happier [as I always think I can do better], but so far so good. Even great if I may be so brave, and bold!

A lot to discuss...Where to begin?


Masked Age '66!

I have run two sessions (Issues) now of The Masked Age '66 for Dan's Group, and it looks like we're going full on campaign mode with this one for sure.

The premise is 'Silver Age with a Twist', as the heroes, villains, and NPCs are modeled after the comic books of the mid-to-late 60s while simultaneously dealing with the real world issues of that turbulent time. We are definitely not going into 'Watchmen' territory here, but we won't be ignoring the political, social, and cultural elements that defined the era.

The system is a Japanese fan-made RPG my friend found at a convention over there not long ago called 'The Masked Age' (actually Masuku no Jikan, or 'The Time of the Masks'). See more about it in my previous post.

I am loving our team! We have..

Aegis (Experiment Paragon Epitome) played by Leo. A dove/Anti-Vietnam War Superman analog. He is quite political, and an avid supporter of Robert Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is a legacy character, being the son of the Golden Age superhero Major Victory. He possesses the classic Epitome power set: Flight, Invulnerability, Super Strength, Super Senses, and Laser Vision.

Drifter (Cosmic Crusader Magician) played by Dan. A member of a mysterious group of interstellar, and interdimensional travelers, Drifter has decided to remain on Earth for a while. He is haunted by the knowledge of lost memories (that is, he is aware he has amnesia, and that the condition may be self-inflicted). These are memories of something terrible that happened, or that he did. Drifter can open portals, and gates to travel, attack enemies, or defend himself. With the help of a focus - such as a car, motorcycle, or other vehicle - he can teleport anywhere on Earth. Drifter is in with the scene man. He is hip, happening, and in the now daddy-o. A cosmic 'street level' hero, he is known and well liked by the lost, the looking, and the disenfranchised across the highways, and byways of the world. Far out brother.

Mummy Queen (Supernatural Obliged Adept) played by Alex. The spirit of a murdered, and mummified queen of Ancient who possesses, and transforms her host, a mousy Egyptologist working for New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mummy Queen is played with the no quarter taken, no quarter given arrogance of Namor, The Sub-mariner, or the mighty Thor. At the same time, she has a nobility, and a sense of compassion that reminds me of the classic Wonder Woman. She can stretch, and manipulate her mummy bandages in order to snare, entangle, whip, or throw objects, and opponents. Mummy Queen also possesses enhanced strength, and the ability to make dramatic entrances, and exists.

Titan (Cosmic Obliged Gestalt - Metamorph/Epitome) played by Arthur. A Human agent of the Council of Galactic Order, it is Titan's job to protect the Earth from alien invasion, especially of the gigantic, Japanese movie monster kind. As such, Titan is able to grow to enormous size, as well as shrink down to just a few inches. At any height, he can fly, has Super Strength, and Invulnerability. He also possesses an Energy Blast that he fires from his hands, or the faceplate of his helmet. My favorite power is his 'Kaiju Sense' which alerts him when monsters are present, or about to attack.

Robogirl (Technology Genius Gestalt - Epitome/Magician) play by Erick. A young, Japanese woman who came to the United States to make her fortune, she is both an engineering savant, and a wealthy if reclusive CEO. She wears a suit of powered armor that gives her Flight, Super Strength, Armored Protection, and Blasts, but her real power is her unparalleled mechanical genius. She can build, modify, and analyze advanced technology in moments. Her political and social views, especially on the subject of military conflict, differ greatly from some of her teammates (notably Aegis, and Drifter). In addition, her background involves her parents adding the Nazis in World War II by building many of the diabolical super-weapons they used to battle the Golden Age heroes (such as Aegis' Dad!). The player noted that although she is called Robogirl, her 'comic book series' is called Robogirl Z.

Our initial plot deals with the team members assembling all together for the first time (though some of them knew each other prior to the start of the campaign) in order to thwart a plot by The Scarab Society, a mystic cult that has existed since the very beginnings of the kingdoms of the Nile. They are the Arch-Nemesis of Mummy Queen, and responsible for her mortal death.

I hope to have more soon, as we are due to run the third issue, and the end of the story arc tomorrow night!

Kapow! The Freedom Force of Earth-F-Omega!

The regular GM of the Google Hangouts group I'm a part of had to take a night off for some family stuff, so I returned the group to the alternate world of Earth-F-Omega, and their PCs in the new, and revitalized Freedom Force.

This is my second time using this particular Supers setting, which is why I say 'returned'. You see, the last time I ran Kapow!, it was also in this particular setting, which is basically a variant on the Freedom City universe of the Mutants & Masterminds RPG. That previous time I was also filling in, but only so our regular GM could recharge, and play for a change.

After dealing with his personal obligations our GM, Keith, was able to join in with his character from last time. As the story wasn't really finished in the one session, we decided to continue with me as GM until such time as the story is complete. I ran last week, this week, and we should be finished next week. Keith will then return for a one night adventure before he heads off on vacation (have fun Keith!).

While Keith is away from two weeks, we're going wait...I'll save that for next month.

Trust's going to be interesting.

Cosmic Handbook for Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition!

I've been waiting at least two editions for this book, and I finally got it as a belated birthday present from a good friend of mine.

A sourcebook/supplement on all things cosmic, from Alien Empires to Existential Entities, is right in this fantastically illustrated, and put together tome. I highly recommend it to any fan of Superhero adventures across Time, and Space.


OK, other stuff...

Film and Television!

Supergirl and The Flash!

This past Monday on the CBS live-action television series Supergirl (a series I am quite enjoying by the way), The Flash guest-starred! That's right, Grant Gustin appeared on Supergirl as The Flash/Barry Allen from HIS OWN TV SERIES! Wow! I don't know about you, but to me this is monumental.

This is a crossover, not just from one program to another, but a crossover across networks. A hero from Earth-CW has traveled to Earth-CBS! THIS IS INCREDIBLE! For an old school DC Comics fan like me, this is a dream come true.


Because the episode was charming, fun, action-packed, and very much like an old school comic book in many ways. At the same time, it was a modern, prime-time TV show, applicable to and enjoyable by a much wider audience. This is what happens when you get it.

The makers of Flash, and Supergirl - They get it.


Batman vs. Superman

I don't really want to talk about But...

If you saw it, and enjoyed it, good for you. I'm glad. Honest.

I found it completely awful. I can't really tell you what the plot was, what the director, and writer were thinking, or why they made the choices they did. For me, the movie failed on all fronts. Most of all, it failed its two lead characters.

In all the ways I enjoyed Supergirl AND Flash, I hated Batman VERSUS Superman. The basic differences in approach aside, the main issue was the characters not acting to their established natures. While Supergirl acted like Supergirl, and Flash acted like Flash, Batman and Superman were barely recognizable in their movie.

You could excuse it by saying, "These are alternate versions of the characters you know". That would be fine if you had established this universe properly. Even better, if you had developed a film universe with the characters as they'd always been, depicted in the base forms essentially. Then a variation like this would be an interesting contrast. But no.

Daredevil - Season 2

Great! Extremely well done series. I did have some minor issues with the second half of Season 2 once Elektra is introduced, but overall I think the whole thing was pretty spectacular. Looking forward to a Season 3, and of course the upcoming Luke Cage Season 1.

There are other things of a Superheroic nature I would like to talk about, but right now it's getting late here in the Big Apple, and I need to get some sleep.

Rest easy citizens,

Barking Alien