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.

Flash! Ah AAAAH! Action Figures!

Now I can realize my lifelong dream of owning a Brian Blessed doll! It's not quite my dream of one day owning a complete I, Claudius playstet, but it is close. 
I'd complete forgotten about this until I started looking for images. 
I'm dead serious. How could you NOT want an action figure of this?
or this?

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Silver and Leather Pouch.

This leather pouch is embossed with silver wire and dates from the 15th Century.

For more details, go here.

As not to offend anyone, I will not give it stats or a false story, but I will happy show it here as a beautiful piece of artwork.

Imagine a variation of this, carried by the spellcaster to hold his spellbook and scrolls.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Explore Mars from Your Laptop

That is all. 


D&D screwed up big when it went with Kreo instead of LEGO, and we lost an incredible opportunity for dungeon builds and miniature gaming. Luckily, there are some incredible LEGO fans who are picking up the slack. 

I can't find the original builder's page, so I'll just post this one pic and a LINK to where I found it. 

The Dragon of Holding

This strange magical hybrid, also known as a dragonbag, is thought to have resulted when a dragon was stuffed into a bag of holding, and then forgotten after the campaign was abandoned. Over time, the two merged to become the artifact known as the Dragon of Holding.
The item functions exactly as a regular bag of holding and even has a strap across the 'belly' that allows it to be carried over the shoulder. The bag is fully alive however, and as items must be taken in and out of the dragonbag's mouth, this can create difficulties if the creature is in a bad mood, or dislikes its current owner. 
The dragonbag also has two functioning wings, which makes the shoulder strap necessary as the creature may try to fly away in fear, boredom or in search of food. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

"Come Out and Pla-Ay!"

A gang. A tribe. A family, leaderless and lost behind enemy lines must fight their way back to the safety of their home turf before sunrise. A simple premise makes for one of the best (and most) eighties movies ever made. This was back before New York was an overpriced tourist trap. This New York was gritty, dangerous and dirty place where the police feared to tread. Where a gang of baseball welding psychopaths are the MOST F*CKING TERRIFYING THINGS YOU'LL EVER SEE and the presence of a single gun is enough to throw off the entire balance of power.
I use the word tribal because the gangs are groups of young men and women who band together to protect themselves and their neighborhoods while dressed in matching outfits and living by various codes of honour. The only real crimes they are guilty of are some really awful graffiti tags and a lot of bare knuckle rumbles.

Its a fantasy film, though it is set in a 'modern' city, complete with Warrior Codes and matching uniforms. I have always thought it would make a fantastic roleplaying game on its own, or adapted to pretty much any setting (Shadowrun .. definitely Shadowrun).

Mental Floss has helpfully put together a list of the 21 Street Gangs featured in the film, though its unfortunate that the Soho based Hi-Hats didn't get a picture. Because you know that a mime gang has got to be pretty hard core.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Ehdrigohr: The Role Playing Game

It has been a long time since I've seen something truly new in a roleplaying game, but Ehdrigohr by Native American author and designer Allen Turner, might just be the first new 'book' (as opposed to second hand or pdf) that I genuinely want to own and read in a long, long time.

If this image doesn't inspire at least a dozen gaming ideas, maybe try professional beerpong? 

Goodies from Blue Boxer Rebellion

My Netvibes feed (I will avenge you, Google Reader!) has about two hundred rpg blogs in it. I really enjoy reading and absorbing what everyone is doing and it makes me happy to see that our little hobby still has a solid core of die-hards that keep the spirit of our little hobby alive. The stuff these guys come up with boggles my mind.

Blue Boxer Rebellion is one of those sites, and here is a great map of a town that he is giving away for free.

For more map goodness, I also recommend Dyson's Dodecahedron.

I also found this there. Don't you hate it when someone has the same idea as you, but does it way better? Can't wait to see how this develops.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Terror Birds

While dinosaurs always get the glory, I happen to love all prehistoric creatures especially Terror Birds.

There is something about being stalked and preyed upon by a giant, insane, carnivorous turkey that is both absurd, and terrifying. Then there is the fact that they are basically feathered dinosaurs that flourished in South America right up until the time it merged with North America. The land bridge brought other predators like saber-toothed cats and the reign of the Terror Bird came to an ignoble end.

They don't appear enough in fantasy fiction and rpgs for my likeing. D&D has one, and Pathfinder has the Axe-Beak, but when was the last time you saw one in an adventure supplement?

Terror Bird 
Gamer's Common
Type: Animal, prehistoric. Can be found solitary or in packs (D6). Any environment except Arctic.
Size: Human or larger
Stats: High strength, agility and endurance. Animal, predator intelligence.
Weapons and Armour: Beak (high damage), Kick (high damage), Head Butt (high damage). Wing rake (low damage). Hide provides moderate protection.
Min/Max: Very fast runners. May hunt in packs or have camouflaged plumage in dense jungles/woods.

TWERPS: Terror Birds
ST: 5.
Movement x2.
Beak +1 Hit 3 Damage.
Kick: +1 Hit. 2 Damage
Head Butt: -1 Hit. 4 Damage
Armour: 3

Video Hits Wed: Dayman, Fighter of the Nightman!

This mash-up of the new Superman vs Batman trailer and It's Always Sunny in Philidephia makes me happy on eighteen different levels. I counted. 
by Rosedoodles

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Goonies Storycard Map

I have stitched together all of the Goonie Story Card Adventure Map pics I could find. 

I have have no idea why I did this, but sometimes I find it best not to argue.

Original Pics found Here