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."