The entire purpose of this post is testing out the wordpress tablet app. My laptop went tits-up, which is my excuse for not posting lately. Tits-up, isn’t that a reference to dead goldfish? Goldfish don’t have tits. That’s weird.
Fudge in roleplaying games…how do we fell about it? Now I know what you’re thinking; “Fudge? I dunno, bro, those dice are weird looking!” Well, yes they are, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Also, why are you calling me bro? Also also, not what I’m talking about.
An interesting conundrum has recently nestled itself in the squishier bits of my mind. Well, interesting to me, if it’s not interesting to you, then don’t friggin’ read it, you ill-mannered bucket of sh…sorry, I get testy sometimes. Anyway. I was sitting around the game table one recent night, sipping brandy and cracking wise about pee-pees, playing a rousing game of D&D. After a particularly harrowing combat where I survived by the skin of my teeth, something that concerns me because I’m pretty sure skin shouldn’t be there, my compatriots and I were exchanging high-five and discussing how close a call it was. After the encounter, the DM remarked that I should have been dead several times over by now. I asked him what he meant by this, and he said that he had fudged the results so I didn’t meet my hard-fought demise. This led to a an internal conflict. Getting your character killed, especially in something as arbitrary as combat, is rarely fun. That being said, walking into every fight knowing that you’ll be walking out takes some of the sense of danger from the experience. As I looked back on all the times I clearly should have eaten shit, I decided to tuck it away and ponder it later. After all, it was four in the morning and I had more dick jokes to make before I returned home to my wife…to make more dick jokes.
Days went by, and I was in the midst of running my weekly Shadowrun game, when one of my players takes an axe to the face.
“I’m dead.”, he proclaimed.
I paused, surprised. “You can spend edge to hang on.”, was my retort.
“I can, but I’m going to spend it to get one last action and kill the guy with a lightning bolt!”
“…ok”, I retorted, my mind reeling from the whole ordeal.
Clearly, this guy wasn’t terribly worried about his character becoming a fresh ghost, but it got me thinking back to the previous week’s incident. He then whipped another character and proclaimed “I made a Troll. I get 40 dice for damage resistance tests now.” My jaw slowly fell open into an expression that I imagine looked like I had just watched my new puppy raped and then kicked into traffic, but that’s a different story. (There is no puppy, by the way.)
This experience got me thinking about the nature of characters and their mortality. I empathized with my DM from earlier. I don’t particularly enjoy killing of people’s characters. I’ve gotten a fair share murdered in my day. So many so that I used to be known as the king of the dirt nap. My getting killed skills were legendary and our DM had no sympathy for us back in those days. Often it was in hilarious fashion, thus cushioning he blow, but it always stung a little, and was kind of a pain in the ass having to roll a new character and start over. This new DM softened the blow a little bit by keeping us at least a little safer. But at what cost?
I’ve been known to fudge a time or two. Usually unless I’m running XCrawl, I try to at least give the players a chance, but this leads to a slippery slope. Where does that perfect balance lie? The balance of “shit happens” and “your lives matter”? I’m starting to favor the more bloodthirsty approach, letting the dice determine the fickle finger of fate, but it rarely feels good to feed someone’s effort and imagination into the yawning void. Unless you manage to overcome a 40-dice resistance test. Then you’ve earned it.
Where do you fall in this situation? To fudge, or not to fudge? That is a question. Not the question though, there are others. Like how does Robocop poop?
Just as a quick aside, they’re gonna run out of clever titles for Die Hard sequels soon. Here’s some suggestions. I’m super helpful.
When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die hard
Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die hard
It’s so fluffy I’m gonna Die hard
Let me call you back, my phone’s about to Die hard
Eat shit and Die hard
Got any more? Let me know in the comments.
Nerds like stuff. That’s one of the coolest part of being a nerd; all the STUFF! But sometimes we get hung up on the stuff that everyone else is getting hung up on. That’s how stuff gets popular. That’s just the way things are, but there’s so much stuff that some truly great stuff gets pushed to the wayside. Let’s talk about some of that stuff. Just because stuff isn’t the most popular stuff, doesn’t mean that it’s not great stuff, maybe even better stuff than the stuff everyone else is stuffing themselves with. Here’s some stuff you maybe missed. Stuff.
Gaudeamus was a sci-fi novel from acclaimed novelist John Barnes. It’s also a damn hard word to spell, and no picnic to try to pronounce. It launched in 2004 to little fanfare, and that’s a shame, because it’s a really fun read. Barnes tells the story from the first person, using himself as a main character, listening to the story told to him by an old college friend. Got all that? It’s a tricky little literary device, but one used to great effect here, as it makes you wonder how many of the people in this story actually exist, and which ones are pure fiction. It makes me wonder that too, we have so much in common. If there’s actually a Travis Bismarck out there, I’d like to have a beer with him and hear about his adventures. And if there’s not, just read this book, maybe while drinking beer. Beer is nice.
UFO’s, telepathy-inducing sex drugs, and punk rock bands disguised as clowns, there’s a lot going on here. So much, in fact, that it’ll have you saying “what’s going on here?” up until the very end. Go read it, it’s a neat little ride.
Marvel comics are pretty hot these days, and every title gets the scrutiny of whether it’ll end up as a huge blockbuster movie. Here’s one that almost assuredly will not. And that’s a bad thing. A not-so-super team comprised of D-list Marvel heroes Boom-Boom, Photon, Machine Man, and Elsa Bloodstone, with Newcomer “The Captain”, whose powers include “generic superhero shit”, Nextwave had a twelve-issue run and became insanely popular with people who read it, and no one else, really. It’s a damn shame. It’s sarcastic humor and open mocking of itself are extremely endearing. I’ve never met anyone who read this and didn’t love it. Go read this too.
Do you play Magic:The Gathering? Well stop it! The Spoils is yet another CCG that made it’s debut in 2007 to a huge splash (maybe too big) as an alternative to Magic. If you’ve ever played Magic, you can learn The Spoils in about five minutes, and do well at it. Building off of the basic rules structure that MTG introduced, and improves on it in some key ways, namely resource management. The real kicker here, though, is the game’s style. The Spoils is not afraid to make all kinds of off-color, though not truly obscene jokes on it’s cards. Where Magic takes itself super-serious, The Spoils hands out dick jokes like Halloween candy, while not letting the humor take a backseat to solid mechanics and fun gameplay. Unlike most things on this list, this is still going, and definitely deserves your support.
There’s some of the stuff that you may have missed on your quest for neat stuff. Go check some of this stuff out, it’s pretty great stuff. What obscure stuff are you into? Sound off in the comments! Also, check out the movie The Stuff. It’s a movie…about Stuff.
Sorry for the lack of updates, and this one specifically, as we find ourselves smack dab in the midst of convention season, but life has conspired to shit in my mouth as of late. Now, as I clean the taste out of my mouth, and pick the corn from my teeth, I’m back to provide what will no doubt be a life-changing update for you.
This one’s going to blow up in a big way soon, with the announcement of Fallout 4. Cons across the world are going to be littered with Blue and yellow jumpsuits with collector’s edition Pip-Boys making accompanying them next year. This one has the added benefit of being super roomy and comfy, as well as pretty easy to pull off, depending on how much or how little you choose to embellish it.
I’ve spoken before about the hidden gem that is Spaceship Zero. Similar to the Vault Dweller, the crewman of Spaceship Zero wear simple red jumpsuits with Spacecorp logos on them. This one may not be as recognizable, but you’ll have the satisfaction of repping a true indy darling of an RPG at your con of choice.
Truth is that a lot of geeks are closet wrestling fans, and I fully intend to elaborate on that in a future post. Up-and-coming WWE Superstar Bray Wyatt has the dubious honor of being this generation’s inspiration for chubby fans. (R.I.P. Dusty Rhodes, the portly champion of yesteryear. Much respect.) Bray Dresses simply, in his Hawaiian shirt, Black tanktop, and white or red pants, with optional fedora, leather apron or vest, lamp, and thumb protector. This one can also serve as part of a group costume if you’ve got a couple of friends willing to dress as Erick Rowan and Luke Harper with you…and maybe drag a rocking chair around for you.
Yeah boy, we’re going old school with this one! Who remembers Samurai Shodown? Classic 90’s fighting game series from the glory days of SNK fighters. Eh, kids these days. Regardless, for those of you that remember, Earthquake was the games token “huge fuckin’ dude” character. The hardest part of this costume to pull off would be the prop weapon that he carries into battle. The rest shouldn’t be too hard.
Well, that’s it for this time. Again, apologies for the lateness of this post, hopefully things will pick back up, and there’ll be more nerdy dick jokes more regularly soon.
I’m kinda steamed, kids. I’m annoyed, I need my fangs milked (not a sexual innuendo…this time), and I’m about to start pointing fingers. If you’re the reactionary type, maybe skip this one…
DC Comics is doing a line of Joker-themed variant covers for their books in June. The cover to Batgirl #41, has been cancelled. It was cancelled because of whining. Take a look.
Personally, I think it’s pretty great. For long-time fans, it’s instantly evocative of Alan Moore’s classic story The Killing Joke, a story that was extremely important for Batgirl. It provided something that most comic book characters never get; character progression. After The Killing Joke, Batgirl as we knew her was gone for decades, and Barbara Gordon was forced to find a new niche in the DC Universe as Oracle, a character that was interesting and popular.
Even if you’re not familiar with this story, the cover is visually striking. The mind immediately begins to wonder what’s going on. It’s sinister in a way that’s so playful as to make it more sinister. It makes the viewer concerned for Batgirl’s welfare, wondering how she’ll overcome this situation. It accomplishes what art is supposed to; it makes you feel something.
Just kidding, it glorifies violence against women.
Seriously, people were so incensed by this one simple image, that letters had to be written, tweets had to be tweeted, shitty blog posts were posted (ooh, how meta), all about how misogynistic this was. It should be noted that it was also pointed out how awful it was that Joker’s gun is pointing downward, further hinting that maybe Barbara was molested during The Killing Joke…because it couldn’t possibly be just how a pistol would happen to hang if the hand holding it was draped over someone’s shoulder. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.
Are we supposed to pretend that in the gritty, violent world of costumed weirdos who live for little else than beating each other senseless, that women are somehow safe from all harm now? It kid of solidifies The Joker’s status as a villain if he can just show up and torment anyone he wants, doesn’t it? No, he can only get into fistfights with Batman. That’s safe an inoffensive. He can also cave in the occasional Robin’s skull with a crowbar, so long as said Boy Wonder is, in fact, a boy. Come on people, when did we decide that villains have to be politically correct?
Well, congratulations, idiots, the cover has been cancelled, you can go about your fantasy life that bad things in fiction only happen to people you want it to.
And while I’m working so hard at alienating fifty percent of the world’s population, I want to touch on something else. Ghostbusters.
It seems that humanity has collectively given up on Bill Murray agreeing to do Ghostbusters 3. That’s a shame, but something we all have to deal with, and we dealt with it in a pretty okay way; it was announced that a new, all-female cast would be rebooting the franchise. My sphincter immediately tensed up at the thought of another reboot, but I was impressed by the cast, so I made peace with it. Funny ladies are funny ladies, I wasn’t really looking at it as any kind of progressive thing, other than progress for the Ghostbusters franchise. Then the unspeakable happened…which I’ll speak of now.
It was announced that a second Ghostbusters movie was being produced, with Channing Tatum and probably Chris Pratt attached. Wow, thought my simple and terrible man-brain, Twenty-five years of no Ghostbusters, and now we get two? That’s great, right? No, it’s apparently awful! How dare men get to be Ghostbusters too! Internet opinion-spewers like charming Nerdist spokesbeing Jessica Chobot expressed their disdain at this terrible act of male oppression. Speaking of which, I’d just like to compare credentials here for a second…
I don’t get it. How is everyone getting something a bad thing? I understand how women should be happy that they’re getting represented in this, but then why are men not allowed to want that too? Sounds to me like equality isn’t equal. All this ballyhoo is really getting us nowhere.
Recently, on aintitcool.com, contributor Jeremy Smith wrote an article about Neil Blomkamp’s upcoming Alien sequel. He criticized Blomkamp for having reservations about his qualifications. Good for him. If you’re as much of a rookie as he is, approaching a beloved franchise like this should be a humbling and nerve-wracking proposition. It’s nice to see an artist not approaching their craft like a damn narcissist for a change. But Smith bellyaches that the task wasn’t given to a woman filmmaker. I’m sorry, I didn’t know this was an issue here. Blomkamp did some sketches, the studio was blown away by them and quickly contracted him to make something out of it. Should they have instead said “This Alien concept art is brilliant, too bad they weren’t done by a woman, then we could make a movie!” If you think the answer is “yes”, go away.
So what’s the takeaway from this? Well, probably that I’m some sort of cro-magnon man. But if you’re of rational mind and not tragically brain-damaged, it’s that none of this shit matters. Art should be shocking sometimes, otherwise it’s not art. Two Ghostbusters movies? Two Ghostbusters movies, people, that’s awesome! A new Alien movie that could be really cool? I don’t care who makes it, that’s great too! I’m not saying I don’t want movies starring or made by women, just the opposite, they recently announced a new Star Wars movie entitled Rogue One, starring Felicity Jones. That sounds like a movie about a female X-Wing pilot, and that sounds amazing. I can’t wait for that. Basically, what I’m trying to say here is, we should all unbunch our panties, and stop listening to bloggers.
We have a lot of long-running entertainment franchises these days that have developed rabid fan followings. With increasing frequency, these franchises crap out sequel after dreadful sequel that are instantly thrown on the pile of loathsome offerings that make us wonder why we ever liked this shit. This usually occurs with film franchises, television tends to get cancelled quickly when it goes to seed, but sometimes this phenomenon occurs within other media. Here now, I take a look at some of these franchises that were terrible far longer than they were good.
I loves me some Hellraiser, it was one of the most innovative and imaginatively brutal horror series around…briefly. There are nine Hellraiser movies. The first one is great. The second one is quite good. The third one…happened. The fourth one was better than it should have been. The rest were a dumpster fire. Cenobites that throw CDs, kung-fu cowboy demons, and scripts that had Hellraiser stuff hastily tacked on in order to retain the license have made this franchise a fucked-out shell of the genius it once was. One of the sequels even involves Hellraiser being just a big video game…that’s clever, sadly Frankie Munez must’ve been been too busy to be in that one. Too bad Lance Henriksen wasn’t. It’s ok Lance, we still love you.
This series is set for a reboot soon, under the guidance of creator Clive Barker. This is one of the few times I’ve been looking forward to a reboot. Seriously, CDs? Who throws CDs? Maybe the reboot will have a guy throw MP3s…not sure how that would kill people.
Highlander was awesome. It had a rockin’ Queen soundtrack, cool swordfights, and an interesting concept that stirred the imagination. Then Highlander 2 happened. Then everything else Highlander happened. That was a shame. The Highlander sequels involved aliens, wizards, time travel, the Syfy Channel, all kinds of horseshit that’s known to ruin franchises. There have been 4 theatrical releases, a made for tv movie, two television series, an animated series, and an anime movie. Also, the first movie was good.
Some people really liked the TV series, well, the first one, not “The Raven”, but there are also people who enjoy having entire fists shoved up their assholes. Seriously, look it up. Whole human fists.
Just like a fist up the ass, Highlander well overstayed its welcome and ruined all the goodwill it had earned, making us wonder why we ever liked it in the first place. Oh yeah, the Queen soundtrack.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG
Man, Sonic the Hedgehog was cool. The running fast, the loop-de-loops, the snarky attitude, the…blast processing, it was great. Then the 90’s ended. Sonic hasn’t had a really good game since Sonic and Knuckles, once the days of 2D platformers ended, Sonic found himself a man without a country. Unable to hang in an era of 3D games and polygons, Sonic hasn’t fared well, yet we just can’t seem to stop making bad attempts to make him seem relevant again, despite more failures than successes. As painful as it is, it may be time for Sonic to hang up his red sneakers. There’s a farm upstate he could go live on. There’s room to run around there, and other hedgehogs to play with…he’ll be much happier.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
Pirates of the Caribbean was a great movie. It was a fun, lighthearted adventure full of interesting characters and cool action. Then they made more of them, and Johnny Depp owes me six hours of my life back. The first sequel, Dead Man’s Chest, wasn’t too bad, but then At World’s End happened, and we were subjected to what felt like days of Jack Sparrow looking for a fucking peanut, and the filmmakers desperately trying to make Elizabeth Swan seem like a likable and important main character, as opposed to an insufferable bag of shit. I had actually forgotten about the latest entry in the series, and I paid money to see it in a theatre, which means I left my house at some point. 25% success rate is not a good number to base your series on.
These are just some of examples that jumped to mind in my sweaty, gravy-induced stupor. I’m sure there are plenty of others out there that eluded me. I contemplated Heroes, but since I haven’t finished it yet, it’d be based on hearsay, and that’s just unamerican, so sound off and tell me some franchises you think were more shit than shinola!