Saturday, November 28, 2015

Evil Plants

Mind control, sheep eating, mobile plants and more! There isn't one of these that wouldn't work wonders in a good campaign. The story that freaked me out was the one about the toilet paper .... gah!
We're coming to get you......

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Holy Crap! An Undead Sharkbear!

The world is just a little more awesome because this exists. 
Image Source

Monday, November 2, 2015

NaGaDeMon 2015: That's More Like It

The lesson today was that when looking for monsters, skip the dollar stores today and head to the local thrift shop. The one near me sells bundles of loose toys you can pick up for a couple of dollars. 

Grabbed a few promising bags and came back with this assortment that must have included someone's Dad's toys because I have a Fisher Price spaceman (the back spacesuit with green face!),a die-cast Japanese robot, a genuine Micronaught and an honest to goodness Dungeons and Dragons figure (the hobgoblin in a blue hood with a green face)!

But my favorite has to be the cyborg gorilla in the background there.  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Some Days at Work Are More Fun Than Others

It takes a lot to make me geek out in front of celebrities, but this man who has always made me smile. One of my best memories as a kid was the night when my Dad took me see Raiders of the Lost Ark. My only regret is not asking him to say "Very dangerous. You go first." John Rhys-Davies, a formal class act all the way. 

Croatian RPG 'Awaken'

io9 Article by Ed Grabianowski.

Quickstart PDF available HERE.

Official Website, HERE. 

Saturday, October 31, 2015

NaGaDeMon 2015: Dollar Store Dungeons

I should have started NaGaDeMon a month ago. I have always had this idea of creating a game based around cheap toys and crap you can find in dollar stores and thrift shops so this year I decieded to put my pocket change where my mouth is and create something. The working title is Dollar Store Dungeon.

With that in mind, I went to the local dollar store today with the idea of getting some good Halloween goodies. I had visions of buying up lots of little plastic skeletons, witches, zombies, spiders, rats and all sort of other creepy crawlies ready to annoy the heroes on their epic quest.

But of course this being October, the store was filled with Christmas crap instead. While the idea of having a Heroes being attacked by Elves and Snowmen is admittedly a little appealing, I think that will have to wait for the expansion set.

About an hour later, I left the store laden down with all this ...

... and absolutely no idea what I am going to do with it.

While there was no overall concept, I did go in looking for a few specific things. The main thing was something or something to use as Game Pieces. The Frozen Guy seemed like a good generic hero. Wanting a female Hero, I got an "action figure" of Helen of Troy.   Her blister pack promises Gladiators and Soldiers, which would have been great, but alas they were all sold out.

These 'wooden block' collections seemed like they might be useful for something so I got two packs of those and a dollar store version of JENGA for some extra pieces.

A few file cards, dice and two packs of plastic jewels (rewards?) and some zombie stickers. I'm most excited about the wooden cubes. It occurred to me that with some coloured markers or stickers these could be used as alternate dice. Maybe a dice with different coloured stickers, corresponding to the same colour sticker on one of the monsters(?).

And finally, here are my monsters.
Have to admit, I'm a little disappointed in the haul here. I can distinctly remember seeing cool robots and plastic dragons at the dollar store before, but today I was lucky just to find some safari animals. And of course I wasn't leaving without a dinosaur. Some of the other monsters you see here are things that I had around the house, like Kinder Surprises and Happy Meal toys because sometimes the dog gets her own chicken mcnuggets. It's hardly the horde of fearsome critters I was hoping to find.

One thing I didn't find was something I could use as a playing surface. I was thinking something along the lines of a big chess board, or maybe a checkered table cloth, but nothing stood out. If need be, I'll pick up some poster board. I've been planning a visit to the local flea market, so I'll see what I can pick up there as well.

So what am I going to do with all of this? No idea. The first vague original idea was to generate some sort of dungeon and have it populated with the critters, but just playing around with the blocks I also thought of maybe a wall or maybe a tower. I'm curious to see how this develops, but the only thing I am absolutely sure of, is that the zebra is gonna mess you up.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Video Hits Wed: Swing You Sinners

Another 1930's Fleischer Studios cartoon, suitable for any good Halloween campaign.  

Journey to The Savage Land

Happy to Announce that new Talislanta is due in 2016.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Video Hits Wed: Bimbo's Initiation

This 1931 Fleischer Studios is pure nightmare fuel, and contains a few good ideas for a surreal dungeon crawl. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Munchkin Cosplay

A gallery of cosplay from a Russian Comi-Con shows that fandom has truly gone worldwide. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Kickstarter My Heart

For the first time in many years, I find myself with more money at the end of the month than when I started. So that I don't end up spending it all on LEGO: Dimension packs, please let me know if there are any good Kickstarter rpgs that I should be checking out.

Current State of Open D6

Stargazer's World has a nice summary of the current state of the Open D6 game. Doesn't sound like its going well, which is a real shame because WEG's Star Wars was, hands down, the game we played most often. For our group, it really hit the sweet spot between crunch and ease of play. I sincerely hope that WEG can pull its shit together.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This just makes me happy

It is my firm belief that Fantasy Island, Gilligan's Island, and the islands in The Prisoner and Lost are all the same place. A purgatory ruled over by a trickster god, who hopes that you will do well, but who has no pity for those who fail. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Video Hits Wed: Electra Woman and Dyna-Girl 2001

The late-nineties, early naughts were a dark time for us all....

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Video Hits Wed: Batman vs Superman - LEGO

The new Batman vs Superman movie is coming out next year. For those of you who can't wait that long, this is probably a pretty good summary of how that fight might realistically* go. The sequel works like all great second films, by expanding the cast and expanding the story in ways that feel organic and real. 

(*realistically being relative when you are talking about small plastic toys animated to act out an illustrated fantasy story aimed at children aged 8-13.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Video Hits Wed: Kanye the Giant

There is literally nothing that a white man from Montreal Que can say about this clip that wouldn't make me sound wildly racist, except that I think Key and Peele are hysterical, and I love that they do so much geeky stuff.

Dungeons & Dragons & Bitches from Peter Atencio on Vimeo.
Now I'm worried that what I just wrote sounded racist.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Video Hits Wed: Fargo Season 2

The first season of Fargo took me almost completely by surprise. I hadn't paid much attention to the press and the clips I saw just looked like a rehash of the movie. But holy smokes was it good, you betcha! Here is the trailer for season two, which I gotta watch if only because it is set in 1979. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Rainbow Opal

Magical Effects of the Rainbow Opal
A powerful gem prized by illusionists, alchemists and cosplayers in equal measure, the Rainbow Opal has a number of magical effects, depending on how it used or what spell is focused through
-Illusion Spells are 10% more effective when cast through a Rainbow Opal.

-Illusion Spells last twice as long when cast through a Rainbow Opal

-Can permanently change the colour of one object. That colour then disappears from the opal. The gem can no longer change anything to that colour again.

-Any and all ‘Rainbow’ spells cast through the opal double in all values.

-Will summon one ‘Rainbow Servant’ once per day, without spell costs. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Video Hit Wed: Disco Buscuits -On Time

Perhaps the nerdiest dance song I've ever heard. 
Also, Regan Reese

Monday, August 10, 2015

Seventh Son

When I first heard about the film Seventh Son, I was very excited. Juilian Moore and Jeff Bridges together again in a fantasy epic? Fuck yeah. Warning: SPOILERS
Not this epic
Then the studio delays and limited release hinted that something had gone terribly wrong. So how bad is it? Perhaps the most telling problem with the movie is that the fact that the character of Tom is the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, has absolutely NO bearing on the movie whatsoever.

The movie is apparently based on a series of books known as The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney. The books seem to have a number of different titles, not surprising given the issues around the word, 'spook'. I'm actually surprised that they use the word as often as they do in the film. That it is based on a book series actually makes more sense, as I would hazard a guess that the script-writer tried to jam as many ideas from different books together to make a single movie.
The exact opposite of this, yet somehow still not as shitty.
Parts of it work, and it does feature three of my favourite actors. As a devout Dudist, I'd happily watch Jeff Bridges paint his house and then there there is the beautiful and talented Julian Moore. There is also one of my favourite character actors, Djimon Hounsou in a supporting role. Any time one of them is on the screen, the movie perks up.
Always the best thing in a lot of bad movies. 
The best scenes in the movie takes place at the beginning of the movie when Bridge's character, Master Gregory get into a fight with a sword-welding soldier, armed with nothing but a mug of ale. This is followed by the only scene where we see what Gregory actually does for a living when he and his latest apprentice perform an excorcism and end up taking on Moore's character, Mother Malkin - Queen of the Witches. It doesn't go well and Gregory is has  to set out and find a new apprentice. Apparently, this kind of thing happens a lot.
Not so special now, huh?
Which all begs the question, if only the seventh son of a seventh son can become one of these witch-fighting 'spooks' (briefly referred to as an order of knights known as 'Falcons' and then never mentioned again) then HOW MANY KIDS ARE THESE PEOPLE HAVING? Gregory tells Tom that there used to be an ARMY of these guys! Apparently, seven kids is the absolute minimum allowed for the local peasants.
Its all beginning to make sense!
Now we meet Tom. In the most hackneyed, ripped off and rote introduction possible: Tom is a pig-boy. While I think he's suppose to be quite young, the actor looks old enough to have lots of little pig boys of his own. Gregory calls him scrawny, but he's at least twice the size of Greg's last apprentice. Tom likes to abandon the pigs and go hunting by throwing his knife at things. Think that will be important later? If you said yes, then congrats! You too can be a Hollywood screenwriter.
Does this look like a mother and son to you?
So Gregory goes to Tom and BUYS him from his parents. How did Gregory know that Tom was the Seventh Son of Seventh Son? Who the fuck knows.

My apologize for all the swearing, but if you're offended stop reading because it's only going to get a whole lot worse.

Just before he goes off with the strange man who bought him, Tom is told by his Mam that "all you ever need is inside you". And she also gives him her amulet. I like to call this trope, 'The magic hubcap'.
Fuck hubcaps!

The rest of the film unfolds as if each scene was written separately then stitched together into a loose narrative, but without any real concern for continuity. Characters literally pop in and out, apparently covering vast distances in seconds. Meanwhile, Greg and Tom and their faithful Ogre Tusk, are moved around to where ever the next scene needs them to be.

Mother Malkin has been locked away by Gregory in a cave for a hundred years. She frees herself on the eve of the Blood Moon, which is event that happens once in a hundred years and boosts the witch's powers. For someone who is quite long lived, Greg did not read the fine print on that imprison spell. She promptly returns home, to find it a ruin inhabited by ghosts and watched over by Bonny Lizzie who appears to be some sort of lich. Lizzie also happens to have a teenage daughter named Alice. Lets not dwell on the implications of that, shall we?
Image taken from
Daughter Alice is suppose to be Tom's love interest, though they meet because she is sent to spy on him. Luckily, he tells her pretty much everything, all the time, with no prompting whatsoever.

And witches are also dragons. Why? Who the fuck knows!
Trust me, it looks a lot shittier in craptastic CGI. 
Malkim cleans up her home and restores the Lich's beauty. She then summons the rest of her minions:  the king of assassins, a cool four-armed guy with swords; a leopard lady who's suppose to dangerous, but comes across pretty weak after being introduced immediately after the giant bear guy. And this guy?
Don't worry. He dies. 
Gregory takes Tom to his hide out, which is full of witch hunting gear. They have one week to stop Malkin before the Blood Moon, blah, blah, blah. Greg then flatly refuses to train Tom. Why? Who the fuck knows!

That night, Tom goes exploring and accidentally awakens a haunted suit of armour which attacks him and has to be stopped by Greg. Greg is furious at Tom for ignoring his order to stay in his room, and as a result he begins to train him. Wait, what?
Prepare the Montage!
After a solid night of training they set off on their quest, but first a couple of detours. In one random scene Tom and Greg are summoned to 'The Walled City' (naming is not this film's forte). The city's army has *fought and captured* a shape changing witch who turns into a giant bear. At the city's request, Greg *lets the witch out of the cage to fight him one on one*. The battle rages until Tom and Greg *chain up the witch* and then *dose him in oil that the city had already prepared* and light him on fire. At this point I realized that logic had no place in this film.
and that they take Bear Bating seriously in Walled City. 
The random monster scene where Tom and Greg fight the boggart is actually kinda neat, except for the fact that Tom goes over the waterfall holding a knife, and then comes out holding a sword that he never, ever uses again. Then Alice steals his amulet, because in case its not clear, Tom is a bit of a dumbass.
The GM swears that he rolled this on the Random Encounter table.
Meanwhile, in revenge for killing bear guy, all the witches fly to Walled City and proceed to tear it down. Radu, who just flew to the city, now rides through the front gates on a horse! Then the horse turns into a dragon! Why the fuck not?!
"Whoa, horsey!"
It must have been market day because Tom's Mam is in town, and !Surprise! she is a good witch. She stole the amulet from Malkim over a hundred years ago (which explains the seven + kids). She tries to defend the city, but Mother M is naturally pissed and kills her without much trouble.
When witches die, they get all sparkley
Once that's done, Radu and his army of faceless, supposedly deadly assassins have a hard time capturing an old man, an untrained boy and ogre dude. They do manage to capture Greg, but make the classic mistake of assuming that Tom and Tusk and Greg's magic staff all have died after they fall off the second giant cliff in the movie in less than half an hour.
These guys violate almost all of the Peter's Evil Overlord rules concerning minions. 
Tom's Mam now comes to him in a dream to tell him that she died because, story wise, there is no other way for him to learn that she kicked the bucket and for him to learn that she was a witch. All in all, he takes it pretty well. She also tells him to forget that bullshit she said about the power being inside him all along. The power is really in the amulet.
Yay for hubcaps!
Then it all comes down to the big fight to the finish. Will evil reign? Will Gregory let go of his hatred of all witches? Will Tom suddenly develop the ability to weld a staff like he's done it all his life? Will he kill a butt-load of witches? Think the knife trick comes back into play? What does the amulet actual do? No fucking clue.

The best thing is that movie actually looks pretty good. It is CGI'd to fuck and back, but there are only few times when it crosses the uncanny valley.
Just gonna leave this here. 
The worst thing about the movie is the unsettling misogynistic tone that never gets properly resolved. Never mind the whole idea of a woman becoming more powerful during a 'blood moon. In the film, the Spooks are all 'sons' while the Witches are predominately made up of, and ruled by women. We are suppose to idenify with Tim, so its the Spooks that we are suppose to root for. Now the film does take a stab at addressing this, hinting that in his own way Gregory is just as nuts as Mother Malkin, but Gregory saves little girls while Malkin kills people for looking at her funny and burns a city to the ground. Tom expresses some doubts about what they are doing at first, and even falls in love with a witch, but by the end of the movie he's happily slaughtering them all like a dentist in a petting zoo. Then the film takes away Mother Malkin's agency because the reason she's evil is not because she's power mad, or upset that all her witches have been slaughtered. Nope, turns out that she turned evil just because she was rejected by a man. Fucking really?
Here she is REALLY pissed about him leaving the toilet seat up.

The film has few nods to D&D in it already (Gregory even refers to a Ghast as a 'Level 6 monster') and there are lots of magic potions, amulets and staffs, but nothing in the film is ever clearly explained. Its worth watching for some ideas, but if I wanted to integrate any of this stuff into a game and were looking for specifics you'd be better off reading the books.
Ogre Scrotum: For personal use only.