errors, errors, and some more...

Discuss Mongoose RPGs here, such as the OGL rulebooks, Jeremiah, Armageddon 2089 and Macho Women with Guns
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Postby frobisher » Thu Oct 02, 2003 3:30 pm

ShadowScout wrote:Not so - It's "Lennier" in german too. "ie" is a completely different sound from "ei" in german - "ie" is spoken as a long "i" sound, like in "Lennier", while "ei" is more of a short, "e-i" sound, like in "Ireland".
I've got to admit I remembering back to my O-Level German some 20 odd years ago. I suspect I might have been a victim of a "regional" accent (my teacher's family was from East Berlin).
ShadowScout wrote:Just because his last name is "Hahn", which IS german, doesn't mean he speaks it - after all, remember where all those americans of today came from... :wink: :P :lol:
First name of August as well :) Anyway (and this is probably a bit of a left-handed compliment to August...) his writings here didn't scan particularly like a Brit's (not incorrect, just feel) and seemed just a bit too correct to be American (or so it seemed... :wink: ) so that left Germanic (I'm thinking particularly of yourself as an example here :) )

ANYWAY... the errors in "Coming of Shadows" weren't exactly major, and were at least consistent throughout, and overall a fine bit of source book IMO.
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Postby jadrax » Thu Oct 02, 2003 5:24 pm

So far i have been pretty happy with everything done B5 wise.

And the few things i have a problem with, (which is mainly subjective stuff anyway like relative ship strengths,) I can change.
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Postby ShadowScout » Thu Oct 02, 2003 9:40 pm

You know... what I really, Really, REALLY have a problem with are guys who offer only negative comments - and don't even have the guts to stand by their criticism.

If you find something you think is wrong - so what, perfection is not a thing you'll ever encounter this side of the rim (and probably not on the other either).
But don't go out and scream "It's Complete GARBAGE", say something along the lines of "I think it's wrong here and there, but here's an idea how those could be fixed", and then stand in plain view and argue your views with those who disagree (or rake in the approval of those who don't).

But those snipers... Oh, what I wouldn't give for him to recieve a live visit from the Narn Bat Squad™, with big sticks in their hands and the biggest grins he's ever seen on their faces... :wink: :P :lol:
Last edited by ShadowScout on Thu Oct 02, 2003 10:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby August » Thu Oct 02, 2003 9:49 pm

Heck, ShadowScout... You I like... :)

Narn Bat Squad. Gotta use that one sometime...

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Postby Morden » Fri Oct 03, 2003 2:32 am

I agree. Constructive criticism helps make future products better. When you give all negative criticism, it just makes everyone think you're a jerk.
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Postby hassanisabbah » Fri Oct 03, 2003 12:19 pm

Defend the Mongoose.

Too often the arguement is always very one sided, usually some one bashing off some diatribe, on the basis of insignificance. Now Mongoose themselves can't reply in kind, as they have to be at least polite, but you and I can.

Constructive Critism deserves to be listened to mind you, but the anonoymous guest above is the worst kind of critic - the personal one.
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Postby Guest » Sun Oct 05, 2003 4:22 pm

believe in the licence - I saw the series, and trust me it was very close to being rubbish only its metaplot saved it
god, that`s depressing, play the game but dislikes the show. :roll:
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Postby hassanisabbah » Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:36 am

Anonymous wrote:
believe in the licence - I saw the series, and trust me it was very close to being rubbish only its metaplot saved it
god, that`s depressing, play the game but dislikes the show. :roll:
Not quite, I said that the series was close to being rubbish, but its underlying web of plots saved it and made it interesting.

Lets face it the acting was terrible, many characters were implausable, the aliens were very human, and the characters very one dimensional and cliched. However how they were interwoven into an evolving plot, and the level of research was quite impressive.

Of note the single standing unrelated episodes (such as the horrible grail one) were beyond the standard tat of star trek....
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Postby Eryx » Mon Oct 06, 2003 9:55 am

Not quite, I said that the series was close to being rubbish, but its underlying web of plots saved it and made it interesting.

Lets face it the acting was terrible, many characters were implausable, the aliens were very human, and the characters very one dimensional and cliched. However how they were interwoven into an evolving plot, and the level of research was quite impressive.
The acting was not terrible. The series was written with dialogue that is the same as how people talk in real life. You just never notice until its shown on TV. No one talks how they do in movies or in daytime dramas.

The series was also top notch (although this is my view not yours) all the way through so I don't see where you think B5 was close to being rubbish. Opinions vary but I like to think that we can all just enjoy good sci-fi without resorting to dissing it.

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Postby Greg Smith » Mon Oct 06, 2003 10:27 am

hassanisabbah wrote: I saw the series, and trust me it was very close to being rubbish only its metaplot saved it.
If it was that bad, how did you stick with it long enough to get into the metaplot? Personally if I don't like a series I stop watching after 3 or 4 weeks.
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Postby hassanisabbah » Tue Oct 07, 2003 3:09 pm

I didn't as such, I had a friend who talked me into watching the second series, and then I borrowed his first series he'd taped off TV. It would be wrong to say i don't like B5, rather I like it despite its misgivings and weaknesses.

The acting was not terrible.

>> No I beg to disagree. I have a lengthy experience of both film, drama and TV, and the acting was very wooden and unemotive. The actors were alas quite poor in their expression of their line (in general) - Though I will hold my hands up and say several members of the cast excell - Particually Londo and Vir. The acting varied from ok to terrible US soap standards (Boxletter and Marcus)

The series was written with dialogue that is the same as how people talk in real life.
>> Really? Thats funny because one of my specialist areas in psychology at University was Discourse Analysis and linguistics in psychology. And people do not speak at all like the characters on any TV program. Indeed the way people use language is radically different. Just because the words may be commonal usage, doesn't mean its realistic. Human language contains a number of meta-level and implict and explicit definitions of belief, that most certainly do not work in TV or film.

>> Johnny Nexus provides a very good example of terrible dialogue from the series in Issue 3 of Signs and Portents.

The series was also top notch (although this is my view not yours)
>> No I did actually like it, despite the acting. Its originality held me to it. As far as I could tell the characters were mostly disposable or interchangable.

TV Sci-Fi has some of the lowest standards of plot, continuity, scripting, acting and dialogue, JMS actually improved the standard (Plot and Continuity, and the scripts were very good). What makes B5 stand out most is that JMS actually uses Science Fiction correctly as a genre to present a strangely interesting metaphysical view of human existance.

Infact I can't think of one other Sci-Fi TV series I'd say is worth actually watching (though I haven't seen many) - Buffy, I hate, but its dialogue is so suited its probably worth it just for the quips and one liners.

What I was trying to say is why pick up such petty errors as spelling, when you never bothered to complain about the inherent weaknesses in the TV series itself. B5 was flawed, it was better than the rest, but still flawed none the less. JMS does write a wicked Spiderman though.....
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Postby Greg Smith » Tue Oct 07, 2003 5:48 pm

Doesn't every TV series (SF or otherwise) have weaknesses? Don't we watch them & like them despite those weaknesses?

I debate and discuss the shows I watch, both on the net and in person. But this is a thread about errors in the B5 game.

If you started a thread about the good and parts of B5, I'd certainly join in.
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Postby frobisher » Wed Oct 08, 2003 10:19 am

hassanisabbah wrote:The acting varied from ok to terrible US soap standards (Boxletter and Marcus)
The weird thing was Marcus was one of the most "natural" characters in the show, but then I was raised in the south of England surrounded by that accent.
hassanisabbah wrote:>> Johnny Nexus provides a very good example of terrible dialogue from the series in Issue 3 of Signs and Portents.
Actually, he didn't - that was a made up line. Whilst the first few episodes had some expositionary dialog, none were actually as blatent/bad as that. There are quite a few stinkers (plot wise) in the first season though, but all (apart from TKO, which seems to have NOTHING beyond a "Watch your back" to Garibaldi) actually contributed to the story arc.
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Postby Jal » Thu Oct 09, 2003 2:58 am

The weird thing was Marcus was one of the most "natural" characters in the show, but then I was raised in the south of England surrounded by that accent.
i also thought Marcus came across well, with a british sence of humour as a bonus (i`m in n.ireland, so it still worked fine for me).

Sinclair, i liked, but Sheridan just came over as insincere (i could never trust someone who smiles that much).

some episodes were a bit hokey, but overall it`s the best series i`ve found so far.
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Postby hassanisabbah » Thu Oct 09, 2003 10:49 am

As requested - The Good Points of B-5

Game

Firstly the generic character classes - I love these (even the lurker) as they are nice and broad, and easily applied to almost any game (for example unlike Legend of the 5 Rings).

Combat - The reduced HPs idea is fantastic and adds something of the series to the game. Almost anyone is going to get into trouble if they solve everything by simply blazing away.

Telepaths - A nice new take on Psi, that reflects the setting supremely well, especially the powers gained at different levels.

System - I like the feats, all of them read well. Especially interesting are the Starship feats rather than skills. Explosives is a bit of a let down, I'd rather have seen this as a feat than a skill, but then I could be in error here thinking of Crime Scene (I got it the same day). Racial feats are a nice touch, and the use of specialist and new feats is something of a great mongoose achievement, considering how many games they publish with differing new feats. Much better handled than in Judge Dredd (for example).

Trial By Fire - Juries out on this until I run it. Either one of the best published collection of related scenarios and one off tie ins or seriously flawed. Only time will tell.... I suspect its actually great

Starship Combat - I love the setting realism. The idea of stealth for locking on targets makes the Minbari and Vorlons absolutely lethal except at close ranges (by which point you are likely vapourised). Some parts of the system don't work as well as you might have hoped, and I wouldn't want to run a mass combat, but the rules are not there for that, its for character play, so its fine.

Series

Metaplot - The underlying plots that slowely collesed into the domination of a series were fantastic. The hints and substories came togeather so well that one could only describe them as highly literate.

Background - The setting and background of the alien races was well handled. The Minbari come across as very wise and alien, capable of genocide and spirituality. The Centari were a wonderous yet jaded race, akin to France around the post revolutionary times. The Vorlons and Shadows were so alien as to be impossible to truely understand, yet remained exceptionally interesting. Kosh came off as this friendly God like figure, with a unknowable agenda - The living ships was a particually nice touch. Only the narn were disappointing at times, not nearly as militant and self reliant as youd expect from a revolutionary liberated people.

Characters - Some interesting characters, and ideas. The stim addiction of the doctor and the retreat into or towards alchoholism of Garibaldi when faced with failure was well done, and built well into the characters. Most of the crew were somewhat 2-Dimensional however. Especially Ivannova (though the latent repressed homosexuality towards Talia was well handled and quite mature). Sadly Ivannova came across as too cliched to be believable. Bestor was particually interesting as he mixed a weird alieness to humans, with a deep humanity for the core, exceeded only by the concept of the Greater Good for the corp.

Dialogue - Human dialogue was terrible. The Minbari came across as being simply new age boll*ck talking hand wavers (though they did a nice line in patronising). Only Londo and Kosh seemed to get the best use of dialogue, and it was impressive (in a way) to see a 8' tall suit with no facial expressions, out act Sheriden and co. who left a lot to be desired (but Sci-Fi always has a line in cheap actors and script - something presumably to do with the budget for special effects).

Acting - Best not to mention. Wooden and stiff. Londo came across well, as did Vir, Kosh and Lennier. Bestor was nicely camped up and Lyta Alexander did some good work in the later apperances (though I may have got used to her by then). Marcus possibly was either too good to shine or not interested (I have seen him since and he's actually quite good - Like Antony Stewert Head in Buffy (you should have seen him in Spooks), both are probably not overly into their roles and maybe are too talented they look bad - Much ado about nothing syndrome....).

Unrelated Episodes - The bane of the american series, is that a large number of episodes are simply irrelivent. Its a bit like trying to read a novel interspaced by short stories, containing the same characters, but are unrelated to the main story lines. Of course this is an American Broadcaster problem, that a series has to have 22+ episodes, so there tends to be a lot of filler material dropped in. The X-files was also ruined by the constant pointless stories. One or two is fine, but why so many. Sad but true, this does distract from the story.

So there thats what I liked, rather than mostly disliked, constructively about the game and series in general.
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Postby Greg Smith » Thu Oct 09, 2003 12:30 pm

hassanisabbah wrote:As requested - The Good Points of B-5

Game

Firstly the generic character classes - I love these (even the lurker) as they are nice and broad, and easily applied to almost any game (for example unlike Legend of the 5 Rings).

Combat - The reduced HPs idea is fantastic and adds something of the series to the game. Almost anyone is going to get into trouble if they solve everything by simply blazing away.

Telepaths - A nice new take on Psi, that reflects the setting supremely well, especially the powers gained at different levels.

System - I like the feats, all of them read well. Especially interesting are the Starship feats rather than skills. Explosives is a bit of a let down, I'd rather have seen this as a feat than a skill, but then I could be in error here thinking of Crime Scene (I got it the same day). Racial feats are a nice touch, and the use of specialist and new feats is something of a great mongoose achievement, considering how many games they publish with differing new feats. Much better handled than in Judge Dredd (for example).
Lots of very good points. I like the episodes with their possible spin off stories. Enough to keep a game close to the main story but without actual mucking up the timeline.

The presige classes are a little too specific. I can't see my players wanting to become any of them.
Trial By Fire - Juries out on this until I run it. Either one of the best published collection of related scenarios and one off tie ins or seriously flawed. Only time will tell.... I suspect its actually great
It is a good collection of connected stories, and the 'in between' episodes give it added depth. But there's a little too much reliance on B5 Wars material, without sufficient descriptions or BG.
Starship Combat - I love the setting realism. The idea of stealth for locking on targets makes the Minbari and Vorlons absolutely lethal except at close ranges (by which point you are likely vapourised). Some parts of the system don't work as well as you might have hoped, and I wouldn't want to run a mass combat, but the rules are not there for that, its for character play, so its fine.
I agree, it simulates the TV series well. But I can't see me using much cruiser vs cruiser combat in my game.

Series

Metaplot - The underlying plots that slowely collesed into the domination of a series were fantastic. The hints and substories came togeather so well that one could only describe them as highly literate.
Absolutely. The best part of the series. Something no other has matched.
Background - The setting and background of the alien races was well handled. The Minbari come across as very wise and alien, capable of genocide and spirituality. The Centari were a wonderous yet jaded race, akin to France around the post revolutionary times. The Vorlons and Shadows were so alien as to be impossible to truely understand, yet remained exceptionally interesting. Kosh came off as this friendly God like figure, with a unknowable agenda - The living ships was a particually nice touch. Only the narn were disappointing at times, not nearly as militant and self reliant as youd expect from a revolutionary liberated people.
I felt the Narn were very well played. They could quite easily have become a poor-man's Klingon. Their spiritualism was a good counterpoint to their agression.
Characters - Some interesting characters, and ideas. The stim addiction of the doctor and the retreat into or towards alchoholism of Garibaldi when faced with failure was well done, and built well into the characters. Most of the crew were somewhat 2-Dimensional however. Especially Ivannova (though the latent repressed homosexuality towards Talia was well handled and quite mature). Sadly Ivannova came across as too cliched to be believable. Bestor was particually interesting as he mixed a weird alieness to humans, with a deep humanity for the core, exceeded only by the concept of the Greater Good for the corp.
Ivanova's 'Russian-ness' was a little grating during season 1. But for the most part I liked her character - the fearlessness, the way she could intimidate anybody, the loss of her mother to the corps, the loss of her father, her relationship with Marcus.
Talia Winters was also a great character. Her arc from loyal psi corp operative, then begining to doubt, to being unmasked as a infiltrator, was very cool.
Dialogue - Human dialogue was terrible. The Minbari came across as being simply new age boll*ck talking hand wavers (though they did a nice line in patronising). Only Londo and Kosh seemed to get the best use of dialogue, and it was impressive (in a way) to see a 8' tall suit with no facial expressions, out act Sheriden and co. who left a lot to be desired (but Sci-Fi always has a line in cheap actors and script - something presumably to do with the budget for special effects).
Why do you say the Human dialogue was terrible? I thought it didn't stand out as good or bad, just functional. With the exception of Ivanova's speech to the commanders of the EA/Shadow ships, which I loved.

Vir and Londo had some great lines together, too.
Acting - Best not to mention. Wooden and stiff. Londo came across well, as did Vir, Kosh and Lennier. Bestor was nicely camped up and Lyta Alexander did some good work in the later apperances (though I may have got used to her by then). Marcus possibly was either too good to shine or not interested (I have seen him since and he's actually quite good - Like Antony Stewert Head in Buffy (you should have seen him in Spooks), both are probably not overly into their roles and maybe are too talented they look bad - Much ado about nothing syndrome....).
I don't understand how you can say Kosh was a good actor. :)

IMHO, most of the actors did a good job. Claudia Christian's scenes where Ivanova discusses her father can move me to tears. Mira Furlan gives Delenn a quiet gravitas. Jerry Doyle was great at giving Garibaldi an everyman kind of feel as well as imbuing him with both flaws and heroism. Andrea Thompson gave Talia the reserve and emotional caution neccesary for a telepath. Peter Jurasik was great as Londo. Andreas Katsulas made G'kar both a great villian and pitiable victim (not bad through all that makeup IMHO).

As for the leads, I felt Michael O'Hare was good in the scenes were he needed to be stern and commanding, but struggled when his character was required to show emotion. Bruce Boxleitner on the other hand never possessed the leadership presence required by a captain, nor the essential hardness of a war veteran.
Unrelated Episodes - The bane of the american series, is that a large number of episodes are simply irrelivent. Its a bit like trying to read a novel interspaced by short stories, containing the same characters, but are unrelated to the main story lines. Of course this is an American Broadcaster problem, that a series has to have 22+ episodes, so there tends to be a lot of filler material dropped in. The X-files was also ruined by the constant pointless stories. One or two is fine, but why so many. Sad but true, this does distract from the story.
B5 had the some of the worst unrelated episodes ever, IMHO. But as the series progressed into seasons 2-4, they became few and far between.

So there thats what I liked, rather than mostly disliked, constructively about the game and series in general.
My likes too. Inevitable a few dislikes crept in there too, but that can't be helped when contrasting and comparing. It's nice discuss something postively.
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Postby hassanisabbah » Thu Oct 09, 2003 1:26 pm

Those prestige classes have NPC stamped all over them - Its unlikely any PC is likely to desire them. Though our Telepath is keen on becoming a psicop. Which would be a major pain to the gm.

Kosh was fantastic, for a bloke essentially in a box. He (it) came across quite well and very alien (which is the main point) - Nicely enigmatic and capable of seeming like a godlike entity at times. The pursuit of the mysterious plan of the Vorlons, as well as serving a high agenda (Deathwalker) was particually interesting, as was his meetings with Talia. What was that all about?

Series 1 was probably the weakest series (I didn't bother much with 5) with lots of irritating stories, but once established JMS did seem to slowly edge out the trek like one-offs. American TV producers hands are quite tied in what they are allowed to do.

As for the human dialogue. I suppose I am a bit hard on the cast, they are not great actors, and did their best, but the humans seem a little cliche Sci-Fi. Personally I hated Ivannova, the fearlessness and intimidation just panged of self rightous spoilt kid. And she seemed as Russian as Ross Periot. Some scenes with her worked but most didn't as she seemed almost psychotic in her failure to emotionalise or connect. Certainly the officer most likely to be 'fragged' by her troops. She seemed to act like Dirty Harry stuffed into a womans body. A very male idea of what a 'strong' woman is like, but becomes suitably female when the scene requires it. Hard but really just a spoilt repressed little girl on the inside. Just needs a man to bring out the real her - quite a cliche.

And the Shadow and Vorlon war came to a very disappointing end 'Get out of here' lets face it, these races were so divorced they would probably have killed everyone rather than all of them just bugging off. Still it was probably the only way to do it.....
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Postby KDLadage » Thu Oct 09, 2003 8:21 pm

I have read THE FIERY TRIAL and THE COMING OF SHADOWS. I should have reviews of both books up over at ENWorld before Sunday (Central US Time).
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Postby Greg Smith » Thu Oct 09, 2003 10:14 pm

hassanisabbah wrote: Kosh was fantastic, for a bloke essentially in a box. He (it) came across quite well and very alien (which is the main point) - Nicely enigmatic and capable of seeming like a godlike entity at times. The pursuit of the mysterious plan of the Vorlons, as well as serving a high agenda (Deathwalker) was particually interesting, as was his meetings with Talia. What was that all about?
Kosh was well written as an enigmatic alien and the mysterious Vorlon agenda was good . But it doesn't take much of an actor to say a single line and have it electronically distorted. Good character, but not because of the actor.
Series 1 was probably the weakest series (I didn't bother much with 5) with lots of irritating stories, but once established JMS did seem to slowly edge out the trek like one-offs. American TV producers hands are quite tied in what they are allowed to do.
I thought the first half of 5 was the weakest, with Byron and the telepaths. At least with one, you get the build up.
As for the human dialogue. I suppose I am a bit hard on the cast, they are not great actors, and did their best, but the humans seem a little cliche Sci-Fi.
That is amazingly patronising.
Personally I hated Ivannova, the fearlessness and intimidation just panged of self rightous spoilt kid. And she seemed as Russian as Ross Periot. Some scenes with her worked but most didn't as she seemed almost psychotic in her failure to emotionalise or connect. Certainly the officer most likely to be 'fragged' by her troops. She seemed to act like Dirty Harry stuffed into a womans body. A very male idea of what a 'strong' woman is like, but becomes suitably female when the scene requires it. Hard but really just a spoilt repressed little girl on the inside. Just needs a man to bring out the real her - quite a cliche.
I really have to disagree (except for the Russian part). In 'The War Prayer' it is established that she found the right guy, but left him because of her career. She connected with Talia.
Sure she seemed a little spoilt, but some of the funniest scenes in B5 are her exasperation at having to deal with alien cultures or those who don't do as she's suggested.

Maybe she does resemble Dirty Harry in a woman's body, but the character is a military officer and a command officer. All of the women on the show are strong women but they're not all the cliche you describe. If she was the only one on the show then maybe it would be pandering to the male ideal of a strong woman, but as she is one from a group, I would think not.
And the Shadow and Vorlon war came to a very disappointing end 'Get out of here' lets face it, these races were so divorced they would probably have killed everyone rather than all of them just bugging off. Still it was probably the only way to do it.....


Very anti-climactic. :)
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Timeline errors in Fiery Trial?

Postby Allensh » Thu Oct 09, 2003 11:15 pm

Sorry if this has been answered elsewhere, I am new here :) There seems to be a disconnect in the B5 timeline involving the second scenario in A Fiery Trial. (which by the way is a superb book otherwise). The date given for the handout Universe Today issue is well before the events of some of the episodes referenced as having already happened before the module begins. Any idea what the correct date for the handout should be?

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