30 November, 2019

Dark Crystal TV Show

Edit: I have changed my mind drastically about this show. I plan on writing a follow-up sometime soon, but after watching the rest of episode 1, I watched the remainder of the series in 1 day. I found it to be excellent.

I tried watching the Dark Crystal tv series. I made it about 25% through the 1st ep. and shut it off. I was surprised to then see huge amounts of critical praise for it .

- The whole background of the world is changed. I suppose it's possible that some kind of 'reveal' would have the tv show background turn out to be some kind of ruse by the skeksis, but I doubt it. The revised history of who the skeksis are is not nearly as interesting, and is just dumb, right off the top. "They're from space!" takes a high concept and turns it into a cheap low-ball.

- The population of the gelflings is segregated into a cheesy 'X number of cities, each with it's own bluntly simplistic character' system, like a video game or a 2000s YA novel. Another hack device.

- One of the last scenes I watched was a fly-through shot of some kind of library or scriptorium. A great deal of screen time was lavished on this space that felt like the set decorators got started on it, but didn't have time to finish. Comparing it with similar classic Henson spaces, it feels positively empty. There was also no point to the very long fly-through, except showing off the created space. This felt very unlike classic Henson and the Dark Crystal, where the awesome environments were there in support of what was going on, rather than being the point in themselves.

- The very last scene I watched was this same sort of thing again. Scene of characters talking about leaving one location and why they were going to a different location. Extended shot of them leaving, showing off creature movement, but nothing else going on. Same, from another angle. Same, from another angle. Same, from another angle. I get you worked really hard on these things, but that does not mean you give them screen time compared to how much time you spent making them. You give them screen time appropriate to the story and what you're getting across. A fail.

17 June, 2019

Gellarde Barrow

The legends of the mountain-folk are calling. My first small dungeon adventure is up now on Drive Thru RPG. The monsters are statted up for NGR, but they are easily statted for any old school dnd-style game just by interpreting the descriptions. It's pay-what-you-want, so please give it a read! If you like it, you can always go back and buy a copy as well.

Find it here: Gellarde Barrow at DriveThruRPG

24 April, 2019

What Playing 5th Edition D&D Feels Like To Me

[I specify "to me", because I am not you, so I don't know how it feels to you. It clearly feels pretty good to quite a few people. If it feels great to you, that's awesome. I'm not attacking you, or trying to change your mind.]

[Also, below, "5e" is not in any way a DM. It is the rules system, nothing else. "Me" is myself as a player or DM, either one.]

I need to go through a door into a room where I need to solve a problem. There is a box outside the door with 68 specialised tools all jumbled together. I can take one into the room with me. I rummage through the box and pick a screwdriver, thinking "this seems versatile".

5e: "That's not 'versatile'. That tool is for driving quarter inch flathead screws, little mister, and that's all!"

Me: "Uh.. ok?"

I go in the room, and there are two boards partially nailed together. I need to either finish nailing them together, or separate them. I flip the screwdriver around and start hammering the nail with the handle.

5e: "Whoa down there, tiger! As stated earlier, that's a screwdriver, not a hammer. You need to turn that back around and hold it by the handle."

I turn the screwdriver back around, and start using it to pry the two boards apart.

5e: "Hey now! No can do, MacGuyver. That screwdriver is for driving screws. I mean, it's right there in the name, see? You had plenty of opportunity on the other side of the door to pick a hammer or a crowbar, but you chose the screwdriver."

I try to put the screwdriver through my head. It does not work, because my head is not a screw.

Me: "Screw you, 5e."

26 October, 2018

Why They Put Trails Through Forests

So, with Win10 they send me pictures every few days. Some of them are pretty great.

This one is a perfect example of somewhere your DnD character does NOT want to take their horse. Not just riding, but you don't want to try to walk it through there either. All those holes and shadows that look like holes will all look like holes to your horse, and even if your horse is trained so they won't freak out in a forest (they freak out in forests because, basically, they have one eye on each side of their head) they might baulk at going anywhere near them. The other possibility (the worse one) is that they try to jump over them onto what they think is solid ground, but almost certainly isn't, at which point they will almost assuredly break either their ankle or their leg.

"That doesn't look so bad" - someone who doesn't ride horses

If your character is looking at this, and they have a horse, they'll have to either find a way around or take their horse back and leave it somewhere. Unless neither the player nor the character have any experience with horses (this is pretty basic), in which case they can try to make their horse (not them) roll a wisdom save (determination) to go through it, and then a dexterity save to not break at least one leg (based on how badly they failed the save). The horse is going to have to keep making that dex save. How often depends on the ground, but potentially as often as every 5 minutes.

18 October, 2018

In The Mouth of Madness

This is the passage Sam Neill reads as the walls of the world tear open, and he watches Elder Horrors rush toward reality. I mostly put this here so I won't lose it.

In The Mouth of Madness
“Trent stood at the edge of the rip; stared into the illimitable gulf of the unknown, the Stygian world yawning blackly beyond. Trent's eyes refused to close. He did not shriek, but the hideous unholy abominations shrieked for him, as in the same second he saw them spill and tumble upward out of an enormous carrion black pit choked with the gleaming white bones of countless unhallowed centuries. He began to back away from the rip as the army of unspeakable figures, twilit by the glow from the bottomless pit, came pouring at him toward our world.”

10 October, 2018

Corken for the Holidays!

From Norchester down past Biggleswade, and throughout most of East Anglia, the wild corken is a favourite addition for every family’s Holiday table. It’s easiest to find them near rivers and lakes, and the best hunting is from early September to mid October.

Corken: 1-2 HD, AC as leather, grab with tentacles for 1d4 crushing damage. If grabbed, automatically stab with legs next round for 1d4 damage. Tentacles only do damage on the round they hit, as they first tighten their grip and latch on. Small targets are immobilised by these grasping tentacles, but human-sized victims are basically unhindered. However, they will only be able to attack the Corken with small weapons, since it is STUCK RIGHT TO THEIR FREEXIN BODY!

Corken have no eyes or ears, instead using their extremely powerful and minutely discerning sense of smell. They smell with the suckered surface of their large tentacles, so if the tentacles are removed somehow, they will wander around aimlessly for a while, then give up on life and just sit down.

The traditional old-fashioned preparation of the Holiday Corken is on the left. On the right is the more recent style, where the tentacles have been removed and prepared separately, usually as a fried treat as well as an ingredient in other dishes. A few people in larger cities, such as Cooperton or Frippert, now put tentacle in the stuffing, but this is frowned on by all but the middle and upper classes.

Also, upon doing an image search to see who had done that top pic that had been sitting in my drive forever, I discovered somebody else had made a different (though obviously similar) creature for 5e. Here is their blog/campaign diary: skaldforge.wordpress.com. And here I thought I was the only one this odd. Well, not really.