Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Love Will Have Its Sacrifices: Carmilla and Laura for the Buffy RPG

Some pairings just work so well that it feels like the universe clicks into place.
This is one of those times.

Carmilla is a web series based on the Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu short story of the same name.  Like many (MANY) updates to Carmilla, this takes place in modern times.  We have Laura Hollis (played by super cute Elise Bauman) a 19-year-old freshman at Silas University in Styria, Austria.  Laura starts a VLog when here roommate Elizabeth Ann "Betty" Spielsdorf goes missing.  Laura, a journalism student with an over-protective father, decides to investigate and her suspicions fall squarely on her new roommate, Carmilla Karnstein (played wonderfully by Natasha Negovanlis).

Along the way, we meet Lola Perry (Annie Briggs) a German-language student, compulsive neat freak (and former below-average witch) her best friend S. LaFontaine (Kaitlyn Alexander), a non-binary cool science geek biology student, and Danny Lawrence (Sharon Belle) a 6'2" (no really, she is that freaking tall) English lit TA.

The first season, 36 episodes, covers the relationship between Laura and Carmilla as well as the mystery of all the missing girls. The next two seasons (36 episodes each) cover other issues facing the often tormented students of Silas University. Including fighting the Faerie Queen Titania, the Deep One Dagon, oh and getting in the middle of a 3 millennia-old war between Inanna and Ereshkigal.  Fun times.

The writing is witty. It is a geek-filled romp with plenty of nerdy pop cultural references. I wanted to die every time I saw Laura drink out of her TARDIS cup.  And these were not just fan-service nods these were legitimate geek moments.
The acting is great and the chemistry between the two leads is some of the best I have seen in a long, long time. They are in another series together by the same creators but as different characters.  I have to admit I am little hesitant to watch it less I ruin the good juju of them as Carmilla and Laura.

I missed the whole fandom that surrounded this show and that is my loss. The fans, the "Creampuffs", seem like a great community. The creators of the show know what the fans mean to them and it feels like a great relationship.

But that's not why YOU are here, is it?

Carmilla is pretty much in every sense of the term the spiritual successor to Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  So it stands to reason then that the cast should get the Buffy RPG treatment.

I did this once before for Carmilla for the Ghosts of Albion RPG, but these stats will be based more on the characters around Season 2 or so. Plus the GoA stats are based more on the novella than this.

Yeah, I might be a little obsessed.

Carmilla

The young Mircalla Karnstein and Elle in 1872 (great for Ghosts of Albion)


Countess Mircalla Karnstein, aka "Carmilla"
Vampire

"Buckle up, creampuff."

Life Points: 63

Strength 6
Dexterity 6
Constitution 5
Intelligence 3
Perception 3
Willpower 5

Qualities
Age (3) (335 years)
Attractiveness (3)
Cloak of Beasts (Large Cat)
Fast Reaction Time (Vampire)
Hard to Kill 3 (2 from Vampire)
Natural Weapon (Vampire)
Reduced Damage 2 (Vampire)
Regeneration (6 Life Points per hour) (Vampire)
Vampire

Drawbacks
Adversary (2, mother, various vampire hunters)
Bloodlust
Love, Tragic (Elle)
Love (Laura) (2)
Emotional Problems, Emotionally Dependent (victims) (1)
Mental Problems, Covetous (Lechery) (1)
Minority (lesbian) (1)

Useful Information
Initiative +8
Actions 2/1
Observation 1d10+6
Fear +5

Height: 5'3"
Hair: Black
Eyes: Brown

Skills
Acrobatics 3
Art 2
Computers 0
Crime 2
Doctor 0
Driving 1
Gun-Fu 0
Getting Medieval 3
Influence 4
Knowledge 4
Kung Fu 2
Languages 6 (English, French, Latin, German, Romanian, Sumerian)
Mr. Fix-it 1
Notice 3
Occultism 1
Science 1
Sports 1
Wild Card

Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +8 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +9 - Defense Action
Bite +7 6 Slash / Stab, needed for blood drain
Punch / claw +8 12 Bash / slash


Laura Hollis
White Hat

"What would Mina Harker do? Get bitten. Mina Harker would totally try and act all alluring to the bloodsucking fiend and totally get bitten. Let's not do that."

Life Points: 26

Strength 2
Dexterity 2
Constitution 2
Intelligence 4
Perception 3
Willpower 3

Qualities
Attractiveness 1
Nerd

Drawbacks
Honorable (1)
Love (Carmilla) (2)
Minority (lesbian) (1)

Height: 5'2"
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Brown

Skills
Acrobatics 2
Art 2
Computers 3
Crime 2 (Investigative Journalism)
Doctor 1
Driving 1
Gun-Fu 0
Getting Medieval 1
Influence 2
Knowledge 3
Kung Fu 2 (Krav Maga)
Languages 2 (English, German)
Mr. Fix-it 1
Notice 2
Occultism 0
Science 1
Sports 1
Wild Card

Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +4 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +5 - Defense Action
Punch  +6 4 Bash

These stats represent our stars around Season 2.  So each one has a bit more points than expected of starting characters.

I think LaFontaine would

You can watch all three seasons on the KindaTV YouTube Channel.

Season 1



Season 2



Season 3




The movie is out next week!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Black Swan (2010)

Is Black Swan a Horror flick?

It certainly has elements of it and IMDB and Wikipedia list it as Psychological Horror.  I mean it is no Silence of the Lambs, but it can get to you.
Plus Darren Aronofsky can do some really creepy shit (see "Requiem for a Dream").

There is no "last girl" here and certainly no one is murdered (except for a hallucination) and we can never really be sure of Nina's (Natalie Portman) ultimate fate (though to stick with Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake theme she certainly died).

Portman gave a fantastic, Oscar worthy,  performance, as to be expected, and Mila Kunis was also really good as Lily.

This movie was a happenstance for this challenge.  I do not have it on tape but it was on one of the movie channels.

A good movie makes you think afterwards.  Though not all movies that make you think are necessarily good.  This is both.  Sometimes Aronofsky can get on my nerves, but this was a good one.





Monday, October 16, 2017

I *need* Some D&D t-shirts

If you have been on Facebook or other social media it is likely you have seen ads for some D&D themed/branded t-shirts.    They look really cool.



I am not here to link them or rat them out for selling unauthorized D&D products.  That is not my point today.


My point today is this ad.


If you are unfamiliar with the "Gateway to Adventure: 1981TRS Hobbies, Inc." brochure that came with the Basic and Expert Sets there is a copy on Archive.org.

I had always wanted those shirts.  In particular the D&D Basic set, the Players Handbook, and the Deities & Demigods shirts.

At age 11 though even the $6.00 + shipping seemed like a lot of cash when I was saving and buying things on my own. That six bucks was two paperbacks or half way to my next hardcover.

I am now at an age, and the means, to buy what I want.  I want some of these shirts, but sadly these are not something that comes up at game auctions or eBay. Plus if they did would I really want one?

I have made some shirts for other games, namely Ghosts of Albion, for when I am running games. But I really would just rather buy one.   I'd like WotC/Hasbro or their authorized reseller to have a storefront where I can buy retro-style D&D T-shirts.  I bought a "Red Box" D&D shirt from Wizards one Gen Gen con a number of years ago.  I would like some more.

HELL.  I want a Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord,  or White Star tee shirt too!
+Erik Tenkar,  +Matt Finch+James Spahn who needs to be bribed to get these done?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Witch Superstitions

It's Friday the 13th! Always a special day here at The Other Side, but a Friday the 13th in October? That's practically a national holiday here!

I am participating in the RPG Blog Carnival for October on Superstitions. Hosted by Of Dice and Dragons.

Witch Superstitions

In my games, witches have a lot of superstitions.  Actually many believe they HAVE to do these things or their magic will be in jeopardy.  It is one of the defining features of the witch as opposed to wizards, clerics, druids or other types of spellcasters.

Most of these are designed with roleplaying flavor in mind, if anything I would say that if they don't follow them they get an immediate -1 on their next roll or where appropriate.

Brooms
- A witch never buys a new broom in May.  "New broom in May, sweep your family away."
- A witch never takes an old broom to a new house.  When the new house has a broom an old broom may be brought in.
- If a broom falls it means a stranger is coming. Or that someone is under a curse.
- Newlyweds should jump over a broom after a handfasting to ensure a good marriage.
- Floors are never swept widdershins, west to east or left to right.
- Knocking a broom handle on the floor (bristles up) three times will remove mischievous fairies.
- If a broom breaks while being used it will bring bad fortune on the whole house.

Cauldrons and Pots
- A witch never stirs a cauldron, pot, or even her teacup widdershins (counter clockwise). Stirring widdershins is allowed when brewing a curse or when you want bad things to happen.
- Cauldrons must be seasoned prior to proper use.  A cauldron not seasoned will never produce acceptable results, whether this is a potion or soup.  Use the most common type of animal fat available.  Typically an old mother hog who is past her own season is the best.
- The ember to light the cauldron fires after Samhain must come from a fire that was started before Samhain.

Food and home
- A witch never uses salt at the table.  If you do, throw some over your left shoulder first.
- Breaking a cobweb is good luck.
- Finding a spider is a good omen.
- A portrait falling from a wall is a omen of death.
- A cracked mirror is ill-fortune for the one that cracked it and the one that sees it first.
- Cat on your threshold means you will have a visitor soon.
- A Cardinal (or a red bird common to your area) singing in your garden means an old friend will contact you.
- if your cat hisses at a stranger do not let them into your home.
- Plant roses and lavender in your garden for luck.
- Crooked windows will keep rival witches from flying into your home.
- Bury a horseshoe under your front step to kept evil spirits from your home.
- Burn sage in a home to remove evil spirits.
- If you believe your house is haunted, move the furniture to new positions to confuse the spirits.  If the furniture is moved to same places they were before you could have a boggart.
- Ring bells to remove evil spirits
- If someone knocks their chair over when getting up from a meal it is a sign they lied.
- Never lay money on the table before eating.
- Never shake hands or kiss in a threshold.
- If three or more witches gather in a home the youngest (or lowest level) must make the tea and serve it to the oldest (or highest level) first.

Personal
- Wear black on Wednesdays, wear purple on Sundays.
- Do not sleep with wet hair, your dreams will portend madness.
- If a witch must go to a church or temple of another god she should sit in the back row.
- Always start new endeavours facing East. Never start something new on a Friday.
- when making a camp, sleep with your feet pointed in the direction you will be headed in the morning for quick and speedy travel.
- properly dispose of all nail clippings and fallen hairs to prevent another witch from casting a spell on you.
- if you have to speak the name of an enemy, spit on the ground after you speak it.




Thursday, October 12, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Burn Witch Burn! (1962)

Also known as Night of the Eagle, this is one of the many versions of Fritz Lieber's Conjure Wife and one of my favorite versions of it.

this version cleaves much better to the spirit of the book, but it is also missing significant portions of the book and some of the elements that made to book so good.  In particular, it changes the entire ending.  To be fair, the movie ending fits the movie better, but I do prefer the book ending more.

The whole bit where Tansy looses her soul is also missing.  The movie does not suffer for it, but the story has less punch.

Janet Blair and Peter Wyngarde are very good as the young college professor and his witch wife Tansy.  They look very much like I would expect them to look from the book.

My son Connor did not watch this with me.

This Old Dragon: Issue #138

October 1988.  I was a sophomore in college, but not just any college. I was at Southern Illinois University and Halloween was a HUGE deal. I debuted my first version of my "Astaroth" devil costume.  A couple of my friends got wasted, damaged part of the football field and got arrested.  I also "invented" the "Bush Whacker"; a double shot of vodka washed down with a Bush beer.  Never been able to drink vodka after that night.  My college roommate had a new girlfriend so I ended up with a dorm room all to myself.  It was pretty sweet really.  I had finished my first draft of the Witch class nearly two years prior and was now into deep playtesting and revising.   It's October 1988 and this is issue #138 of This Old Dragon!

As far as Dragons go I consider this one in my top five.  I remember walking to the bookstore down "The Strip" (Illinois Ave) to pick this up.  The cover could not be more Halloween-themed if it tried.   The material inside completely lives up to this cover.

Roger E. Moore is now the Editor, replacing the departing Kim Mohan.  I am not sure when exactly this took place, but I do know that this was the first issue I really noticed it.   This is post-Gygax TSR and if we didn't know that know we soon will.  Not that I am trying to draw parallels between Moore and the people that took over TSR.  Far from it.  But there was a new direction in art and in in content in Dragon and other TSR works that really began to show about this time.  It is easy to lump it all into 2nd Edition era, but it started before that.

Letters cover the lack of Dragon magazine indexes.

Nice big full ad for Space 1889. I picked up this game used not soon after, but sold it in one my "purging" moods.  I finally got another one at Half-Price books a while back.

The Forum covers a variety of topics, heavy on contributions from IL I notice.  At the time I really had no idea how good I had it.  I have heard of an Original D&D corridor that ran from Chicago and Lake Geneva all the way down to Carbondale, IL (where I was) and hitting nearly every major university along the way down south.  Even in my hometown, there were several independent D&D groups running at same time.   The Egyptian Campaign (in Carbondale, aka "Little Egypt") had been running since it's involvement with fellow Saluki (SIU alum) Tim Kask.   All I knew was I had access to books, games, and people and I thought everyone had this.  Later I learned this was not the case and one of the reasons these other games and supplements began popping up, to fill a gap.

We get some advice on painting undead in Through the Looking Glass.

Ad for Dragonfire computer-aided DM's software.  I know people that swore by this.


I have heard that this software had been released as share-ware, but I could be mistaken.

The unofficial start to our Halloween issue is Sage Advice. Here Skip Williams covers various questions about the undead that I found very useful.  I notice that a lot of what was written here later informed the undead monsters of 2nd Edition.

Page 15 we hit the meat of this issue, all about horror!

Up first a little something for the Call of Cthulhu game. The Black Book and the Hunters by Craig Schaefer introduces The Black Book of Shub-Niggurath and the Hunters of Shub-Niggurath (Greater Servitor Race).  While I am not sure if I ever used these in CoC, I certainly used a lot of ideas from this article in dealing with demons.  In fact, I penciled in "Lesser" and "Greater Servitor Race" on many demon entries.

Double page ad for the SF&F book club.  Some great books here!

Up next is something from none other than Tom Moldvay.  No wonder I love this article so much.
The Ungrateful Dead expands the ranks of the undead with some monsters I STILL use to this very day.  These horrors include The Bloody Bones, Skleros,  Dry Bones ("Dem Bones"), Gem Eyes, Shock Bones (something I had come with independently based on a nightmare I had as a kid), Galley Beggers, the Walking Dead, the Lesser and Greater Colossus, the hungery Dead, Le Grand Zombi, Ghula, Baka, Gelloudes, Spirit Ghouls, a Wendigo (!), Black Annis and her cat, and the vampire like Callicantzaros.  Whew. A ton of undead from myth, legend and popular culture. So many I have used over the others and others I had forgotten!

Up next is an article I have a bit of contention with.  Not this article per se, but ones like it.
Ed Friedlander gives us madness in fantasy RPGS in Methods to Your Madness.
The article itself is not bad and really focuses on the fantasy aspects of the game and the potential effects.  In general, I find many bits on madness, "insanity" and psychological impairment to be hamfisted at best and dangerously wrong at worst.  My background is in Psychology. I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in it. I spent years working as a Qualified Mental Health Professional in a group home setting with schizophrenics. I don't like "sanity" rules in most games.  I like the ones in Call of Cthulhu because they work within the confines of the system and the mythos.
The rules in this article work because they do not try to cleave to close to modern psychology.  Instead of a diagnosis of a disease, we get descriptions of behaviors.

Eileen Lucas is up with an article I didn't read much then but have since come back too many, many times. The End of the World: Of plagues, player characters, and campaign worlds.  I think I am not the only one.  Remember the old Knight Rider TV show?  Every season it seemed like they had to crash and nearly destroy KITT (and sometime Micheal) to only rebuild it and make it stronger, better.  I see this sometimes in Campagin Worlds.  We saw it in Greyhawk and I am not sure how many times in Krynn and the Forgotten Realms.  The article though is very, very good and has a lot of great ideas on how to end the world and start again.  At this time in my own gaming the "Dragon Wars" had just happened and my world had been largely destroyed.  When I wanted to bring my world back for 3e I went back to this article to read up on the plague and the after effects of wars.

We break from disease and death to talk about lasers.
Martin Landauer is next with Putting Fire into Firepower or lasers for the original Top Secret game.  I always thought of this as the bridge between Top Secret and Star Frontiers.  Maybe they were in the same universe.

The fiction piece is next, Between Lightning & Thunder by Nancy Varian Berberick.

Cool full page ad for DC Heroes with my first introduction to Amanda Waller.


The Role of Computers covers the then cutting edge of computer games. Many with new CGA graphics!  Many games are listed at around the $40-$45 area.  Interesting how the price of games has not changed all that much.

A couple of pages of small ads.

Role-playing Reviews covers a few horror-themed game titles.  Cthulhu Now is a supplement for the Call of Cthulhu changing the setting to modern times.  Future versions of CoC will fold this information into the core book to some degree.  GURPS Horror was at this time considered to be the MUST HAVE horror supplement for any game.  I remember looking for it for years in my local stores; so much for easy access!  Beyond the Supernatural was also considered one of the hot horror games of the late 80s.  It is notable not just for it's content but for also starting the writing career of many horror RPG authors like C.J. Carella who would later go on to write WitchCraft.

A page of TSR Previews. This features (and there is an ad later) the LAST AD&D hardcover to be produced, Greyhawk Adventures. This book was notable for being 1st Edition, but also having 2nd Edition AD&D stat blocks for monsters.


I can't help but notice that the blue background on this is almost the same blue background that will be later used for the AD&D 2nd Edition preview book.

Convention Calendar is next.

DragonMirth has some comics including newbie Yamara.
SnarfQuest hits episode #62.
There is no Wormy.  Little did I (or anyone else) know Tramp had moved and was living about 2 miles from where I was.

Lots of full color, full page ads.

Wow. What a packed issue.  AD&D 1st Ed was in it's twilight years and we all knew it.  What we didn't know was that soon AD&D players would engage in "The Edition Wars".  Yes there had always been the AD&D vs. D&D ones, but that was minor when it came to the 1st vs. 2nd ed or the TSR vs. WotC ones over the next, well, forever.

But until then we have this brief moment of stillness and this really great issue.

What are your memories of October 1988?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October Horror Movie Challenge: Alien Covenant (2017)

Another new one.  Plus I am running out of tape material.

Note: Spoilers ahead.

Alien Covenant attempts correct some of the mistakes from Prometheus.  Not sure how well it succeeds. For starters, this is a proper Alien movie, with xenomorphs, spaceships, a crazy android. Everything that made the first one a sci-fi and horror classic.

This one doesn't quite work as well.

It's a good sci-fi flick and has some good moments, but otherwise, it is only ok.

I am not exactly sure why that is.

I talked to my wife and son about this.  They pointed out that the alien was not really the enemy. They were only a tool. The real bad guy was the android, David.

Well, I had hoped for more.




Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...