RWAV - Spring 1996

Table of Contents

Notices

The provisional IFIS itinerary for the second term:

Saturday 10th Feb - Star Trek Exhibition at the science Museum Meet at 10:00am at Egham station.
Thursday 15th Feb - ?Millenium? 7:00pm Lecture block B.
Thursday 29th Feb - ?Total Recall? 7:00pm Lecture block B.
Wednesday 20th Mar - ?Tarintino Triple Bill? Details to be announced.
Thursday 28th Mar - AGM.
Gamesoc have Game nights every monday from 7:0Opm in Lecture block A.
Both IFIS and Gamesoc meet informally every Thursday night at the Royal Ascot pub from about 7:30.

by unknown

Competitions

Design a Logo for IFIS!

The IFIS committee will provide a £10 gift voucher as a prize for the best design.

Design a Logo for GAMESOC !

Never to be outdone, the Gamesoc committee will also give a £10 gift voucher to the designer of the best Logo for Gamesoc.

All designs must be handed into the committee(s) by the end of February. See page 13 for details of contacting the committees.

by Paul Ilsley

Editorial

Welcome to A Rune with a View, the combined IFIS and Gamesoc magazine. Thankyou to everyone who has written an article for the magazine, given me advice and helped type articles in. I?m now collecting articles for next terms magazine, so anyone who has any ideas, reviews, stories, news etc. . .(or any comments about this edition) please mail them tome at Pauli@ C.AC. UK, leave them in the I pigeon hole in the computer science dept. or give them to me at the Ascot pub on any Thursday evening.

by Paul Ilsley

News

Rumours have emerged from Paramount that Deep Space 9 is to be axed. Despite enchancing the show with a new ship ( the USS Defiant ), a Klingon - Cardassian war and introducing the popular next generation character Ltgcmdr Worf, the show is still losing ratings in the US. Paramount sources have also said that they are worried that DS9 is drawing Star Trek fans away from the new Star Trek - Voyager series, which has also faired badly in the ratings.

Warner Home Video have issued an official statement about the release dates for the rest of the Babylon 5 episodes as part of their ?Beyond Vision? Serial Sci-Fi collection. . .

?Babylon 5 has not been suspended. Volume 8?will be available from Feb. 26th 1996 as a triple episode pack in order to compensate for the continuity problem cause by A VOICE IN THE WILDERNESS. A decision was taken many months ago to ?rest? the show in the peak Christmas period, as it was an unknown quantity on video. Now that the show has proven itself, you can look forward to one tape a month next year from Feb. to November. Season 2 releases start in June.?

Today, November 2nd, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry completed shooting on an episode of BABYLON 5 entitled ?Point of No Return,? which will air mid-February(in the US), allowing for full post production work. This came about as the result of several conversations with Majel and her representatives, and many kind. wonderful things she has said about our show at such conventions as Toronto Trek and Wolf 359, describing B5 as ?the only other intelligent SF on television right now.?

She is aware of the schism that ehsts between some fans of either the ST universe or the B5 universe, and shares with me the belief that it?s unnecessary. Wanting to show her support for what we?re doing with BABYLON 5, she undertook this role, that of the Lady Morella, third wife of the late Emperor Turhan of the Centauri Republic; a prophetess and seer.

Everyone had a great deal of fun on the set, particularly Majel working with Peter Jurasik (Ambassador Londo Moliari). The role is one that is very different from what she has portrayed in the past, and she did a line job; it?s a part that fans should find most interesting. A great time was had by all, Majel was gifted with caps and B5 t-shirts, and with her costume, made especially for her. I think it was, overall, a case of all sides charming the hell out of one another ....

J. Michael Straczynski, Executive Producer, BABYLON 5

IFIS and GameSoc now have their own World Wide Web sites. These can be accessed from the Clubs and Societies home page on the Student Union Web site. Contact Adrian Eyre for details.

by Paul Ilsley

Changling, the Dreaming

Changling, the Dreaming is the "last" in the Storyteller series (Mage, Vampire, Werewolf, Wraith and Changling). It uses the same basic Storyteller rules but it is about creatures cut off from their homeland, Arcadia, and consigned to mortal form in the 20th century.

So what do you get for your money (18 pound)? Another copy of the Storyteller rules, background on Changlings (the generic form for the various fey creatures) and their nature, details of the various Changling races, a "new" magic system and notes on how Changlings fit into the modern world.

The background material is (as you would expect from Storyteller) excellent in concept and style but severely lacking depth. This will no doubt be remedied by many future source books!

Details on the Changling races (Sidhe, Satyrs, Trolls, Red Caps, Eshu, Baggons, Slaugh, Nookers and Pookas) is brief but good though some purists will dislike the way that creatures have been adapted from different folklores. Thankfully, the Tinkerbell style fairies have been relegated to imaginary creatures but all roles are reliant on the imaginative and creative side of human nature (creating the Glamour essential for Changlings).

The magic system is cute. Effects are caused by combining simple actions (Arts), target types (Realm) and cost / forfeit (Bunk). It is a simple system with flexibility and the actual result being very much GM's control. I liked it for its simplicity and the way it prevents magic becoming technical or mundane.

My biggest gripe is the layout. The first 37 pages consist of a letter from one Changling to another and this is an infuriating waste of space. The layout of the rest of the book is haphazard, the index is only mediocre and the garish Celtic style borders around each page is just tasteless.

In conclusion, there's a lot of good ideas and concepts in the book but it is a bit short on detail. It will probably fit in well with existing Storyteller companions but those not introduced / interested in Storyteller might be better off looking elsewhere.

by Tim Barnes

Paintball

The key to survival in paintball lies obviously enough in not being hit. Ifyou follow the advice given in this article, while we cannot guarantee that you will not be hit, you should at least improve your chances.

  1. Observation: Principly, on a one day jaunt, you have two senses to rely on; sight and hearing. When moving, regularly stop, look and listen. When you?re scanning the woods for potential targets try to avoid looking at bushes and trees (yep that?s a tree...), do your best to look through and past them. Vegetation can?t shoot you, people can. Your ears will provide you with information long before your eyes. Keep your mouth slightly open as you will be able to identify the direction a sound originates from more easily. This works by allowing the sound to reverberate around the mouth, effectively giving you a ?third ear?.
  1. Ambushes: ?A bad hunter chases, a good hunter waits? -Lords and Ladies, Terry Pratchett. When the enemy has to come to you, it?s time for an ambush. First of all, pick your killzone. An open area such as a clearing is good or a straight stretch of path. Then consider where people will run when the ambush is sprung. For example, on a path, beyond and before the killzone, are likely. Place one or two people to cover these areas. These people fire on targets leaving the killzone, never on those entering. Finally, amass as much firepower as possible (at least half your force) to fire directly into the killzone. If possible work out your arcs of fire in advance. There is nothing more embarrasing than setting up an ambush and then all 4 of you simultaneously shooting one member of the opposing force!
  1. Firefights: The first and most important rule when in a firefight is known as ?fire and manoeuvre?. .The principle is quite simple. Once you have taken a shot, move to another position before sticking your head up again. Ifyour head appears where the enemy la.st saw it, they will be ready to shoot you. In general when firing at people aim for the chest, it?s the largest target and roughly central. If you miss, you are likely to hit something else.
  1. Protection: If you have a box, then wear it. Two pairs of trousers help. Socks will do at a pinch. Lying down makes it less likely to get hit in that all to vital area. But whatever you do, don?t just assume that no one will shoot you in the ?lower abdomen?. They will, especially the women.
by Adam Hattrell

When Pilots see UFOs

People have been seeing unidentified flying objects in the skies for years. But when the eyewitness is up there with the UFO, is the sighting more difficult to explain?

In the late afternoon of November 17, 1986, Japan Air Lines flight 1628, a Boeing 747 with a crew of three, was nearing the end of a trip from Iceland to Anchorage, Alaska. The jet, carrying a cargo of French wine, was flying at 35,000 feet through darkening skies, a red glow from the setting sun lighting one horizon and a full moon rising above the other.

A little after six p.m., pilot Kenju Terauchi noticed white and yellow lights ahead, below, and to the left of his airplane. He could see no details in the darkness and assumed the lights were those of military aircraft. But they continued to pace the 747, prompting first officer Takanori Tamefuji to radio Anchorage air traffic control and ask if there were other aircraft nearby. Both Anchorage and a nearby military radar station announced that they were picking up weak signals from the 747?s vicinity. Terauchi switched on the digital color cockpit weather radar, which is designed to detect weather systems, not other aircraft. His radar screen displayed a green target, a color usually associated with light rain, not the red he would have expected from a reflective solid object.

Because he was sitting in the left-hand seat, Terauchi had the only unobstructed view when the lights, still in front of and below the airplane, began moving erratically, ?like two bear cubs playing with each other", as the pilot later wrote in a statement for the Federal Aviation Administration. After several minutes, the lights suddenly darted in front of the 747, "shooting off lights? that lit the cockpit with a warm ` glow.

As the airplane passed over Eielson Air Force Base, near Fairbanks, the captain said he noticed, looming behind his airplane, the dark silhoutte of a gigantic ?mothership? larger than two aircraft carriers. He asked air traffic control for permission to take his airplane around in a complete circle and then descend to 31,000 feet. Terauchi said his shadower followed him through both maneuvers.

A United Airlines fight and a military C-130 were both in the area and Anchorage asked the airplanes to change course, intercept the Japanese 747, and confirm the sighting. Both airplanes flew close enough to see JAL 1628?s navigation lights, alone in the night sky, before Terauchi reported that the unidentified fyling objects had disappeared. The encounter had lasted nearly 50 minutes.

Because it involved an airline pilot and an unidentified flying object that had apparently been captured on radar, the JAL 1628 encounter attracted a great deal of public attention. But UFO reports from pilots (private, military and airline) are not new to the subject of ?ufology?. One of the best known cases was a sighting by Idaho businessman and private pilot Kenneth Arnold. Flying his single-engine airplane over Washington?s Cascade Mountains on June 24,1947, Arnold spotted nine silvery, crescent-shaped objects skimming along at high speed near Mt. Rainier. They dipped as they flew, ?like a saucer would if you skipped it across water?, Arnold told reporters. And thus ?fly? ing saucers,, entered the popular vocabulary.

Pilots had reported similar unexplained aerial phenomena before, mainly in the form of the ?Foo Fighters" noted by American bomber crews over Europe in World War Il. But Arnolcl?s sighting, with its accompanying front-page publicity, struck a jittery, post-Hiroshima nerve in American society and set off a barrage of similar reports. Skeptics believed that every sighting had a prosaic explanation, such as misidenti? fication of stars, planets, or natural atmospheric phenomena. Others thought that there was more to UFOs, that they could even be visitors from other planets.

Following the Arnold incident, the Air Force was given the responsibility of investigating UFO reports from the United States, first as Project Sign (also called Saucer), then Grudge, and finally Blue Book. Usually understaffed and underfunded, the Air Force program functioned more like a public relations oflice than a scientific investigation, according to the late astronomer J. Allen Hynek. Hynek himself, who served as a consultant to Project Blue Book from 1948 unitl it was dissolved in December 1969, gradually changed from a skeptic into a believer.

Not even skeptics can deny the subject?s popular appeal. Last March, a Gallup poll found that 88 percent of its respondents had heard of UFOs. Nearly half of those polled believed UFOs were real, not figments of the imagination or misperceived natural phenomena. Nine percent of the adult population claimed to have seen one.

Of these claims, pilot reports are the ones that interest Richard F. Haines, a perceptual psychologist who compiles AIRCAT, a computerized catalog that lists more than 3,000 UFO sightings by aviators over the past 40 years. Chief of the Space Human Factors Office at NASA?s Ames Research Center in California Haines is the author of ?Observing UFOs?, a handbook of methodology for accurate observation, and the editor of ?UFO Phenomena and the Behavioral Scientist", a collection of psychologically oriented essays on the subject.

Dennis Stacy for Air & Space Magazine December 1987/January 1988

by unknown

(untitled)

I have often been asked what makes intelligent sane(?) people want to go and sit for days pretending that they are someone else and that they can do things that are often not legally allowed in normal society. I think that there is a logical reason for this enjoyment of roleplaying ? it is a progression of childhood fairy tales.

I remember enjoying tales of princes, goblins and fairies as a child and then the disappointment of being told that these things didn?t exist and that ?such stuff was for child1?en.? I don?t think that such stuff is for children as everyone has an imagination.

Roleplaying was introduced to me by my roommate in the first year who played AD&D1. I have now been roleplaying for about 5-6 years in various universes and systems and am now enjoying the fun of refereeing and having a chance to prepare the base of the story which the other players then fill out. It is to my eyes as if I am seeing fairy tales coming to life.

I have been told by some rather radical Christians that roleplaying is evil and the work of the devil. My response to this is that if they find it diflicult to accept that people like pretending and that most accept that the fantasy universe does not exist in reality. It is no more evil than actors acting out a story since that is all roleplaying is, except there is no script and that the players create the script themselves.

I like roleplaying as it gives me a chance to use my imagination and to enjoy a break from reality for an evening. If people do not give their imagination a chance to run riot for a little every now and again then they become tired and to my eyes lose part of themselves.

Everyone has the child within and using your imagination allows you to keep in touch with the hopes and wishes of you childhood and keeps the fairy tales alive for you to pass onto your children.

by Wendybelle Burgess

A short(ish) story...

"This is where they found Mrs Price strangled with her own tights." The voice was cultured and smooth and matched precisely the charming man who had spoken.

"Now don't get me wrong. Not all the previous tenants have died and there hasn't been an abominable number of mysterious deaths on the site, just enough to get the house rebuilt twice and to discourage people to buy it."

I didn't think the house was particularly creepy, but then I have been an author for five years and I am not easily spooked. Besides, I always wrote my best works in houses with an atmosphere.

"Now about one hundred years ago young Mr. Coral was hung from a tree that used to stand here."

We were standing near the stairs now, about to go into the dining room when Mr. Collins decided to take me upstairs and proceeded to tell me about the grisly murders that had taken place there.

"In 1879, Mr. Fetluck was strangled in his bed. Mrs. Poir was electrocuted in her bath."

"Um, Mr. Collins," I interjected after five minutes of ghostly tales.

"Call me Peter."

"Yes. . . Well I thought you were meant to be trying to sell me this house not terrifying me into not moving!"

"Are you scared?" He asked, sounding concerned. I had heard of estate agents who seduced clients by scaring them half to death then 'comforting' them, but looking at Peter Collins I doubted that was what he was doing, he looked too, well, nice. He was tall, slightly built with fair tousled hair that part of me longed to run my fingers through, no, he didn't look like a prospective seducer at all.

"No, no," I replied, "I want this house, it's just that if I wasn't so brave I'd be scared to be anywhere near herel"

"Well, I'll just show you the dining room and the garden, then if you're sure you want it I'll get the papers ready." I followed this endearing man downstairs and tried to concentrate on what he was saying and not on him, something about a Mr. Jones being poisoned. How interesting I thought that a man in his early thirties reminded me so much of a little boy. Anyway, I rebuked myself, why shouldn't I fall for him? I'm only human, and he's an estate agent, not Lucifer.

The garden was as peaceful as anything I could have wished for. A tall willow overlooked an enormous fishpond in which two huge Koi carp swam benignly. This calm atmosphere was only spoiled when Peter began enthusiastically to tell me about the people who had died here.

"Mr. Swalls shot his wife Jane down at the bottom of the garden. Simon Heoles was found dead just over by those Rhododendron."

"I thought you said there hadn't been an abominable number of deaths here?" I quipped and was dismayed to see his face fall suddenly.

"Oh, I'm sorry," he said. "Am I annoying you'?"

"Not at all," I said using the conversation as an excuse to move a steps closer to him. "Do you think I could sign the papers now'?" I asked. "Of course," Peter replied and drew them from his briefcase. I signed them then and there.

It is strange that a house can change so much in two weeks. When I first moved in, I settled down to work and, as I had hoped, the atmosphere did fuel my imagination. Now however, the house is giving me the creeps and drawing my imagination, but only towards panic, not inspiration. It started with voices while I was writing. Now, I always hear my stories, but these voices were not those of my stories, they were those of the previous occupants of this house. What I thought looked like a good Victorian style conversion now looks horribly old and authentic. I have discovered a door that will not open and a corner on the stairs that is always dark. I feel like I'm being stifled by the atmosphere not inspired by it.

Anyway, I was just finishing a chapter of my book when the doorbell rang. I was quite surprised to see Peter standing there looking awkward. "Hello." I said.

"Um, I was just passing and I thought I'd see if you had settled in alright."

"Well come in," I said and shut the door. "Would you like a drink?" I asked. It was hard for me to stop myself pushing his errant hair out of his eyes as we walked into my lounge. "Well do sit down," I indicated the sofa and walked towards the drinks cabinet. . .then stopped as I felt a pair of strong hands close tightly round my neck and I realised too late that Peter Collins had been too good to be true. As the eager thumbs pressed decisively on my windpipe I heard

"This is where I strangled Miss Allen."

by Alison Burridge

Sci-Fi and Games on the Web

OK... You've all heard about this "World Wide Web" thing, hell, it's probably boring you something chronic already, but just in case it DOES still interest you. . .

First, load up your Web browser. This will usually be called "netscape" or "mosaic" and you ought to be able to load it by clicking on the right icon if you're using windoze, or typing "netscape" or "mosaic" in the right place if you're using one of the X terminals in Comp Sci or wherever. lf in doubt, ask a friendly member of staff, some 2nd or 3rd-year, or as a last resort, speak to the greasy guy in the corner with the satchel and anorak.

Once you've got the software loaded, you want to find a place to type an address ("URL"). These nearly always start with "http://" and often end with ".html". Sometimes you can click in the obvious box near the top of the window, otherwise you need to find "goto URL" or "open URL" or something in a menu. Once you've told it somewhere to start, you can hop around the word by clicking on the underlined bits of text ("links"), or some of the pictures and things. It's all staggerringly obvious once you've played a bit.

RIGHT! Now you're an expert you just need a few decent places to start. You're obviously interested in Sci-Fi or RPG, so try some of the following:

- This is "Future Publishing", and has some bits of SF stuff in. These are the people that bring you SFX magazine and will soon be bringing you "ARCANE", a roleplaying mag, on sale Nov 9th. . .

A lot of people have their own ?home pages?. Mine's a particularly abysmal effort at http://www.cimio.co.uk/~nick, but some people have decided to give their home pages a SF feel, or write their own SF pages. A few examples are:

Plenty of Universities have Sci-Fi and RPG societies on the net. . .

Finally, for those of you who ARE already bored with this WWW thing, there's a few places you ought to know about anyway. . . '

rlogin monolith.cybercomm.nl -1 bbs or telnet monolith.cybercomm.n1 and login as "bbs" This is Monolith BBS, which has a kind of studenty Sci-Fi atmosphere.

Also ftp to sflovers.rutgers.edu and look in /pub/silovers/ ? this is the ?Sci-Fi Lovers archive?. OK, you CAN also see this from your web browser too, as ftp://si1overs.rutgers.edu/pub/si1overs/

by Nick Waterman
  1. AD&D is Advanced Dungeons and Dragons ? A popular(?) roleplaying game system of the time. AD&D and Advanced Dungeons and Dragons are trademarks of TSR Inc.