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May 6th, 2019

Today is Michael O'Hare's birthday.

Well, it would have been...but the actor sadly passed away on September 28th, 2012 (at the age of 60) after having a heart attack and then going into a coma before he died.

Michael O'Hare was born in Chicago, Illinois, attended Harvard University (where he majored in English literature), and studied at the prestigious Juilliard School of Drama. While he appeared on a range of television shows (from Trapper John, MD to The Cosby Mysteries), he is best known for his casting in Babylon 5 as Commander Jeffrey Sinclair.

A lot of folks didn't like the character of Commander Sinclair or the actor's portrayal of the role, finding it wooden and one-dimensional, but I was of the opinion (shared by some) that this portrayal of Commander Sinclair was deliberate and pre-planned. I loved Commander Sinclair, and Michael O'Hare's portrayal of him!, and was sad that he exited the series (though the reasons for his doing so were only revealed after the actor's death).

In his memory, I'll just wrap this up with my two quotes from Commander Jeffrey Sinclair:

"Sooner or later everyone comes to Babylon 5."

"All my life I've had doubts about who I am, where I belonged. Now I'm like the arrow that springs from the bow. No hesitation, no doubts. The path is clear."

Rest In Peace, Michael O'Hare. You are missed.
Yesterday afternoon's game session with the Sunday afternoon gaming group was very enjoyable and a lot of fun. The Sunday gamers played another one-off test session of the John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game, thus allowing me a bit more practice before I run the game at CanGames 2019 in two weeks.


Once the players showed up at my place around 1::00 pm, we sat down and chatted for a few minutes before getting into the game. Once more, I had created a couple of pre-generated characters for them to play, this time a Thark (green Martian) Scout and a Thark warrior. Tammy surprised me somewhat when she chose the scout. And once more, I ran an "on a wing and a prayer" scenario, starting with a basic premise and took it from there.

The premise of the session was simple: Set after John Carter had created the alliance between the red Martians of Helium and the Tharks, they were being sent to investigate a Warhoon incursion into Thark territory and the violation of a creche of Thark eggs. They learned more information in Thark before setting off, and then faced some Barsoom hazards and found the creche had been indeed violated, but not necessarily by what they had thought. They faced some interesting beasties of my own creation, and had a couple of leads to investigate more. The one thing I struggled with, oddly enough, was getting used to rolling the Barsoom dice that finally arrived with my Kickstarter backer pledge materials! I guess I'd grown accustomed to using a normal set of d20s and d6s. :)

As mentioned, this was a highly enjoyable session of the John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game. I was very pleased with how the "on a wing and a prayer" turned out, and the players had a blast. I managed to clean up the intro element, keeping things relevant to what the players were doing (though I told them too much about Thark society, I suspect), but will still have to work on that for the intro to the CanGames adventure. I was still somewhat stressed and nervous about running the game, but I did pretty well and seem to have a good handle on how the rules work in the game now. Both players loved the change of pace playing the two green Martians and both players seemed to engage more with the characters this time out, and had fun with the whole four-armed, 12 feet tall characters. Lovely stuff.

As I've previously mentioned, I can't wait to run the game at the convention in a less than two weeks, but am also looking forward to the campaigns once I get into those with the Friday and Sunday groups.

Unboxing Barsoom I - The Dice

Last year, Modiphius Entertainment announced the license for a John Carter of Mars roleplaying game, and launched a Kickstarter for the game (you can see my announcement about the game's Kickstarter by following the link).

Those of us who backed the John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game Kickstarter at the upper levels of pledging have had to wait until now for our pledges to arrive. My large box of material arrived on Friday, and while I've taken the inventory of stuff in the box, have only started going through it now. So I figured that I'd post some pictures of the game materials from the box in several blog posts.

I thought I'd start with the game dice.

I ordered five sets of dice for the game for myself - 2 sets of Helium dice (the white ones), 2 sets of Zodanga dice (the red ones) and 1 set of Thark dice (the green ones). These sets of dice include five d20s and six d6s each; one set is perfect for running or playing the game. Two interesting things.

First, it turns out that the "white" Helium dice aren't white at all. They're supposed to be a white-yellow "ivory-like" mix, and indeed they look it. I had actually thought they were supposed to be white, so when I first saw them I thought my eye problems were worse than I knew. Was definitely relieved to learn they're not! Second, the sets of dice from the Kickstarter and the Modiphius Entertainment webstore are different from the dice available for retail. The retail set of dice consists of two d20s and four d6s, and since one can need up to 5 d20s and 6 d6s, if one buys the retail version of the dice, one may be wanting an extra two or three sets of the dice. Interesting.

Anyway, more unboxing blog entries as I write them. :)
As noted, I've started to unbox the John Carter of Mars Roleplaying Game box of goodies that I obtained via the Kickstarter last year, which finally shipped. The first unbox photos I posted up were the specialty dice for the game, which you can see by following the link as noted.

Next up, are the photos for the Collector's Slipcase Set for the game. (While they call it a Collector's Slipcase, I have to wonder how collectible it will be, depending on the number published, when all is said and done, but that's another matter.) So, here's some photos...

The first picture shows you the Collector's Slipcase standing in portrait format, and you can see the two books inside it at the top of the box, since they are inside in landscape format. The second and third pictures show the front and back covers of the Slipcase, respectively. This is actually the same piece of wrap-around artwork that is featured on the Narrator Screen. The fourth and fifth pictures show the covers for the Core Rulebook and the Phantoms of Mars campaign book, respectively. (My apologies for the poor photography on these two pieces. You can see a better picture of the cover of the Core Rulebook in this post, along with some photos of the interior of the book.)

The Slipcase is very sturdy, made of solid cardboard, and holds the two books inside rather snugly and securely. The content of the Core Rulebook and the artwork contained therein is superb. Since I only received the shipment on Friday, I haven't read the Phantoms of Mars campaign book yet, but having browsed through it I have to say that it looks really good as well. I will say that I'm glad I got the extra copy of the Core Rulebook that spross picked up for my birthday, and so the newer version of the rulesbook is safely put away just in case I need it later. :)

Anyway, another unboxing blog entry when I get around to it. :)


John Kahane

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