Showing posts with label Harry Potter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Harry Potter. Show all posts

Friday, June 21, 2019

Busy Week

Sorry for the lack of posting everyone.  Been a really busy week at work.

Here are some brief updates.

Back to Middle-Earth
I turned 50 last week!
So I decided to re-read the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings for something like the 7th or 8th time.
Finished up the Hobbit and I am at the part in Fellowship where the Hobbits have left Tom Bombadil's home.  I am likely to also re-read The Silmarillion, a book I loved much more than expected.

I am also considering picking up Tales from the Perilous Realm and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, two books I ignored as being "too childish" for me...back when I was, in fact, a child.

Then To the Wizarding World!
Speaking of childish things, I have no shame in admitting that I enjoy playing Pokémon GO with my wife and kids.  We walk all over my son's campus (because apparently, I am not on campus enough now) and catch Pokémon.  We get out, we get exercise and we all do it together as a family.
So now we are all playing Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.  HP is a little more near and dear to my heart than Pokémon is. Though I have very, very fond memories of playing the Pokémon card game with my son when he was little and watching the cartoon with him.
Wizards Unite uses the same game engine as PG but with some differences.  More immersive.  I see more walks in my future with my family and both games.

BTW if you want to add me, here are my codes.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite: 1990 1847 9214
Pokémon GO: 5190 6074 7972

Then Back to the Final Frontier
My BlackStar game is going rather well.
A couple of new developments.
First, I am going to be adding Kzinti as a race.  I am going to say at this point they are in an uneasy cold war with the Federation.  They are largely going to fill the role of the Klingons from the FASA Trek game.  Including the Klingon philosophy of "what is not growing is dying".   Again, this is merely background and I might set them up as the main antagonist for the "series" before springing the horror on them.
Second, I have gotten some GREAT ideas from a very unlikely source, the HBO series Chernobyl. 
I think this is going to be great.

I just need to survive the term start here in a week and I'll be great.

BTW I am now working on a new Graduate level Social Justice course.  This will be a lot of fun and I am really looking forward to it.

See you all next week!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Monstrous Monday: Campaign Idea - Monster Naturalists

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter universe. The books, the movies, pretty much everything.  So it was with great joy I went to see the new "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" movie.

So happy in fact I went back and this last weekend in 3D.

Between this, playing a lot of Pokemon with my kids and this past weekend's gaming I came up with an idea.

Why not have a D&D-ish game (it really could be any system) where the characters are not out to be murder-hobos and instead be something else.  The characters can work for a mage school or something similar with high ideals, to collect various magical creatures and bring them back to their employer.

I am thinking that the entire idea revolves around the premise that these creatures are to brought back alive for study and care.  So not killing them and not even really seeing them as evil; more as something that would be collected and studied.  I would include monsters like Owlbears, Basilisks, Leucrottas, Perytons and the like.    I would certainly use the Baby Bestiaries vol 1 & vol 2; the books are too good not to use.

I'd have to figure out some non-fatal means to capture monsters.  Magic ropes, cages and the like.  Plenty of hazards would be manifest too. Bandits, other monsters, not to mention the competition from other groups hired by the same employer or competition.

Sounds like a lot of fun to be honest.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Link Roundup

Lots of things going on today. So here are a list of links I have been reading or need to read in detail still.  Thought I'd share.

Curse of Strahd is coming.  Ravenloft was my all time favorite module to play and run. The Demiplane of Ravenloft was my world of choice during the 2nd Edition days.  So I am finding it hard to wait till this new book comes out.  Thankfully my FLGS is a Wizard's Premier store, so I should be picking up my copy this weekend.  But until then here are some things to keep us all busy.
Looks great so far!

The Witch is out. The movie that is. I have been following this film for months, so I hope it lives up to the hype.  So far I pleased with everything I read, though I am not trying to read to much to be honest.  Some of my fellow bloggers have already seen it.
I need to see this movie.

Once a again a tip o' the hat to my good friend +Calvin Heighton at Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool for this one.
It's a "Dragon Wagon" with a surprisingly familiar font.

Is this the conveyance of some mad wizard?  A collector from the future? A Gamma World/D&D crossover?  No idea, but damn if I don't want to do something with this.
Here are some more links of information/pictures.

Need to learn a new language?  Well there is a Chrome add-in that simulates language immersion by swapping out words you read with those of the chosen language.  Which language?  Any language in Google Translate's database.  Trying it out now.

Finally the same folks that brought us the Harry Potter fan film The Greater Good just finished their newest fan film, Severus Snape and the Marauders.  I do love a good fan film!

I have to say the casting of this is spot on.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: May Reviews

Here are the reviews for May for the Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge.

Lots of books this month!

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
One of my favorite of the Harry Potter books in what is arguably Harry's worst year ever.  This is the book that gives us the evil, awful Dolores Umbridge.  This book drips with so much teen agnst. It is also the book that when I first read it I realized the J.K. Rowling was no ordinary author and I moved her right into "Genius" territory.  She captures the feelings of these 15 year olds so perfect that she made it look like it was effortless on her part.  The magic went to wayside and the focus was on Good vs. Evil.   The scenes of the DADA courses vs. the Dumbledore's Army ones are pure genius.
We are also introduced to the character of Luna Lovegood.  Honestly I forget we only knew her in less than half the books, but she became such an integral part of not just the Harry Potter universe but also the tale themselves. Was this JKR's plan? Introduce a character so well loved (Luna) in the same novel as one so universally hated (Umbridge)?  I think so.
I will also add this.  This book improves with the second reading.
Witch Count: Hundreds

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Also another favorite.  I think this book has the most deviations from the movie.  I had forgotten about how much Harry had thought about Ginny in this one. They ended up together for the last month of the book as well.  I think this book is such an integral one because it is almost Shakespearean in tone.  Harry's best year ever at Hogwarts crashes down on him in the worst possible way.  He is treated more like an adult in this one too, only to have face all his issues as an adult.
Even though I know how the tale ends I still can't help but hating Snape in this.  I remember the first time I read it I was screaming at the book, shouting "I knew it! I knew Snape was a traitor."  It is the sign of a true craftswoman that JKR can still get such thoughts from me now.
Can't believe I only have one book left!
Witch Count: Hundreds

Weiser Field Guide to Witches, The: From Hexes to Hermione Granger, From Salem to the Land of Oz (Weiser Field Guides) by Judika Illes
A fun book that discusses all sorts of witches.  The mythical, the historical, the new age region to Harry Potter and Charmed.
Each section covers something a little different.  Say Witches in Literature (Harry and Hermione are here), Movies and TV (find the Charmed Ones here).  Even historical witches like Agrippa, Marie Laveau and Merlin (is he historical?).  Doesn't go in depth into any topic, but it says time and again that it can't. But it does cover a lot of topics.
Witch Count: Hundreds

Witch of Death by Chrys Fey
Great short story introducing Liberty "Libby" Sawyer, police detective and witch.  When murders with no means of explanation begin to happen it is up to Libby and her new partner Det. Reid Sanders to figure out who or what is causing them.
I will have some more from Libby and +Chrys Fey next month!
Witch Count: Two

Books read: 14
Current Level: Mother, Read 11 – 15 Witchy Books

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Harry Potter Videos

Just a little YouTube silliness for a Wednesday afternoon.

Gandalf vs. Dumbledore

Every spell in Harry Potter

I do believe that the Harry Potter books will go down in time as just influential as Lord of the Rings.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: March Reviews

Here are the reviews for March for the Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge.

First up this month is a continuation of last month.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Ok this is the book where everything changes. The saga of Harry Potter stops being a "boy's adventure" and becomes something deadly serious.  We are treated to generous helpings of lies, betrayal, pain and death. Time to grow up Harry and face your enemy face to face.
This is also the book with so much more in it that the movie.  So much in fact that entire characters, plot lines and development was missing from the movie. I marvel at that fact that the movie script writers were able to do.
In any case this middle point of the Harry Potter books raises the bar.
Witch Count: Hundreds if not thousands.

Bewitching Brews and Devilish Desserts: A Collection of Cocktail and Dessert Recipes
This free book by Roxanne Rhoads ("Sex and the Single Witch").  It's a neat little book where various Modern Supernatural authors submitted a drink or dessert recipe from their witch characters.  A cool idea really.
Witch Count: a few dozen.

Tanith by Jack D. Shackleford
This is a classic tale of British occultism.  What makes it "British", well there is the dark underlying current of something old and evil pervading every page.  There is also plenty soft core smut that it feels like a Hammer Horror film.  Plus there is that cover.  It is from the great Chris Achilleos, so it really invokes the feel of the old White Dwarf/Heavy Metal covers.  The scene is lurid and right out of the book.  The cover talks about "demonic possession", but really this is about one witch battling another for the control of yet a third witch.  No demons to speak of really. There is a lot of well researched details on various rituals; but Shackleford has a name for himself in this sort of supernatural fiction.  Enough that I want to check out more of his work.

Without getting into details or spoilers I think it might be an interesting story to come back to today, see where some of the characters in 2015 vs 1975.  The characters of Tanith and Virginia are really interesting and I'd would have loved to know more about them to be honest.
I should also stat up the Woodwose for a system or two.

Witch Count: 3 (or 4 depending).

Books read: 8
Current Level: Maiden: Read 6 – 10 Witchy Books

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I'm Home Muggles!

So last week I had the ole blog here on auto-post while the family and I spent some quality time at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.   All I can say is wow.

If you haven't been it is located at Universal Studios in Orlando Florida.  It is split up into two parks Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.  The attention to detail was amazing.  We spent maybe half our time in just these two parks.  More or less ignoring the rest of Universal.

We spent a ton of time in Diagon Alley. Drinking Butter Beer, eating at the Leaky Cauldron, buying souvenirs at all the shops and checking out all the details.

We all got these interactive wands that would do all sorts of cool things to various shop windows.

Really. It was a great time.  Oh. I have to add that the staff at Universal from our hotel all the way to the shops of Hogsmeade were all top-notch.  Each and everyone of them was great.

But it got me thinking more and more about a Harry Potter RPG.  I know there is no chance of if ever occurring, but I think it would be great.  You can start with the adventures of young wizards and move out from there.  While there I talked to my kids about how such a game would work.

D&D seems like a good choice, use levels to indicate year in school or something like that. But I don't really need things like "Strength" or "Constitution".  These are kids after all, not mighty thewed warriors.   No abilities like "Courage", "Loyalty" or "Wisdom" are better suited to this sort of game.

Also the appeal to a Harry Potter game would be the same as a Harry Potter theme park; the vast history created for the novels by JKR.  I want a game that captures that same feeling of walking down Knock Turn Alley and seeing the little details.  THATs what I want.  Not to recreate the books, but to feel like I am experiencing them a new way.

There are lots of game systems out there that I think might work well; Ghosts of Albion, Witch Girls Adventures, but none are exactly right for it.

I am going to be giving this one some serious thought.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Zatannurday: Zatanna at Hogwarts!

You might have noticed from my post yesterday that I have been rereading all the Harry Potter books.

Yeah they are for kids, but damn are they good.

This of course got me thinking about Zatanna and what she would have been like at Hogwarts.  Would she have been admired as a student? John Zatarra was well known and certainly his daughter would have been accepted even if she wasn't British.  Or maybe she would have been a guest Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.

Here are some images of people who have wondered the same thing.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge: February Reviews

Here are the reviews for February for the Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge.

First up this month is a continuation of last month.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I am REALLY enjoying rereading all of these.  I read this book soon after it first came out and I have seen the movie dozens of times. What I am enjoying are the differences between the book and the movie that I had forgotten. I don't fault the movies for the changes they made, but the books are obviously much more enjoyable.
Honestly I could not help but smile like an idiot the entire time I was listening to this.
Witch Count: Hundreds if not thousands.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
"Expecto Patronum!"

I followed Chamber of Secrets directly with Prisoner of Azkaban.  One of the things I love about these books is how well JKR shows how much the characters grow and change through out the books.  What I also enjoyed was that this book was not overtly about Lord Voldemort.  Oh, his presence is felt, but he doesn't need to be there in person to make his evil known.
Reading this book again I am struck by how great it was to get Alfonso Cuarón to direct the movie.  The first two are very much "boys adventures" and thus perfect for Spielberg protégé, Chris Columbus who wrote such movies like The Goonies and directed Home Alone. These are now young adults, teens, and much closer to Y Tu Mamá También than The Goonies.
Witch Count: Hundreds if not thousands.

While reading I figured out there has to be about 1000 students at Hogwarts. So about 250 per house (with Slytherin and Gryffindor having the fewest) and the class sizes tapering off.  I bet there are some drop outs after 1st year, some more after the OWLs, and some more when students turn 17.

I am of course going to read all the books.

Harry Potter and the Adventures in Role-Playing
In many of my other gaming circles a constant topic of discussion is who would we get to write a Harry Potter RPG and what system would we use.

I think the biggest issue with a Harry Potter RPG is you have 11 year-olds that know more spells than most 2nd level Wizards.   Here is a quick list of some Harry Potter spells and their D&D equivalents.

Harry Potter Spell D&D Spell*
Accio (Summoning) Summon Object
Aguamenti Create Water
Alohomora Knock 
Anapneo Telekinesis 
Avada Kedavra Power Word, Kill / Death Spell
Avis Summon Nature's Ally (Birds)
Colloportus Wizard Lock
Confringo Summon Flame
Confundo Feeblemind /False Memory
Densaugeo Growth
Diffindo Ghostly Slashing 
Engorgio Growth
Episkey Cure Light Wounds
Evanesco Disintegrate 
Expecto Patronum Shield, Dispel Evil
Expelliarmus Disarm
Expulso Move Object
Ferula Mend Light Wounds
Flagrate Witch Writing
Furnunculus Curse
Geminio Duplicate
Glisseo Trap
Imperio Charm Person
Incarcerous Bind / Web
Incendio Produce Flame
Legilimens ESP
Locomotor Tenser's Floating Disk
Locomotor Mortis Power Word, Stun
Lumos Light
Meteolojinx Recanto Control Weather
Mobiliarbus Levitate
Muffliato Silence 15' Radius
Nox Darkness
Obliviate Feeblemind / Erase Memory
Obscuro Blindness
Petrificus Totalus Petrify
Piertotum Locomotor Animate Object
Protego Shield / Protection from Magic
Protego Totalum Circle of Protection
Reducto Explode
Rennervate Quick Waking
Reparo Mend Objects
Repello Muggletum Protection (from Muggles)
Riddikulus Protection from Evil (Boggarts)
Salvio Hexia Protection from Magic
Sectumsempra Ghostly Slashing / Bloodletting
Serpensortia Summon Snakes / Snake Staff
Silencio Silence
Specialis Revelio Identify
Stupefy Daze
Tarantallegra Otto's Irresistible Dance
Wingardium Leviosa Levitation

They very on level by edition, but the thing to remember is that some wizards can cast most of these spells by the time they leave Hogwarts at 18.

D&D is the worlds biggest RPG, but it might not be the best fit for Harry Potter.  I am going to spend some time looking at other games as well.

Books read: 5
Current Level: Initiate (Read 1 – 5 Witchy Books)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Who is Your Favorite Witch?

Something I did for another site, but thought it would work well here.  I started watching "Salem" finally. Love it so far.  Has not grabbed me like American Horror Story did, but it is only a matter of time.
We also have Maleficent out this weekend so really it is a good time for witches on TV and Movies.

Or as Time Magazine said it, "Witches are the new Vampires".

My goal with Strange Brew: The Ultimate Witch and Warlock would be to allow you play ANY type of witch. Good, Bad, Wicked, whatever type of witch is YOUR favorite, that is what I want to do.

Here is a list of my Top Ten witches, in no particular order.  Who is your favorite?  Let me know in the poll below and in the comments section.

1. Cordelia Foxx (American Horror Story: Coven) - In the 13 episodes of 'American Horror Story - Coven' we saw Cordelia go from meek instructor of Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies and living in the long shadow of Jessica Lange's Supreme to be being blinded, given the Sight, finding out her husband was a witch killer, given some new eyes, blinded again and then finally displaying the Seven Wonders to become the newest Supreme.
As the Supreme she is in charge of all the world's witches.  Since going public that is a lot more girls that need training.  American Horror Story never shied away from death, gruesome dismemberment, sexual taboos and killing off main cast members.  While we might not see Supreme Cordelia again, we certainly will see Sarah Paulson in more seasons.

2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Books and Movies) - Harry may have been the 'Chosen One' but you know what he would have been without the "most brilliant witch of her generation"?  Easy. Dead.  Remember in the books Hermione was shy, not very attractive and an infuriating know-it-all.  By Book 3 Harry and Ron both begin to notice, but long before her magical makeover Hermione was proving she was worth more than a full Quidditch team of Chosen Ones.  She mastered spells long before any of her classmates, she brewed the Pollyjuice potions, even in Book 3 (the Prisoner of Azkaban) she is using a Time Turner to take extra classes in the same day.  Who else has done that?  Not to mention while dealing with the whole You-Know-Who thing she still manages to fight for House Elf rights.
Plus, and let us be honest here, she could have a wicked temper.  She was the one that tricked Dolores Umbridge into the Forbidden Forest to get captured by Centaurs and she keeps Rita Skeeter trapped in a jar for the last part of The Goblet of Fire.

3.  Piper Halliwell (Charmed) - For eight seasons of Charmed Piper went from the quiet middle sister of the Halliwell witches to the ass-kicking, demon killing leader of the Charmed Ones, the most powerful witches in the world.   She helped kill the leader of the demon-world, The Source of All Evil, twice. Three times if you count the near attempts in the later seasons.   She married a Guardian Angel (a "White Lighter" in the show), gave birth to two sons that were half-witch and half-lighter and destined to be the future protectors of the innocents of the world.  But more importantly she did all of this while keeping her family and friends safe. Well...mostly safe.

4.  Willow Rosenberg & Tara Maclay (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) - Willow was the shy Scooby. The one that didn't want cause problems, but she helped her new friend Buffy Summers, another chosen one, because if nothing else Willow does what it right.  She got a little taste of magical power in Season 2 and the rest. Well Willow became the most powerful witch in the series.  She re-ensouled Angel, she went toe to toe with demons of all sorts, and when a god destroyed her girlfriend Tara's mind then Willow did something that the Slayer herself had not done. She made a god scream.  Willow though struggled with her power and when a stray bullet killed Tara, Willow (and the Willow and Tara fans) went crazy and nearly destroyed the world. She was talked back down, but she never seemed the same after that.
Tara was and is my favorite Buffy character. For me she is a quiet, but deep well of power. Spend anytime on this site to see what I mean.

5.  Samantha Stephens (Bewitched) - You know what real power is?  Not strangling the annoying people around you! At least that is what I think Samantha's real power was.  Married to a muggl-sorry, mortal, Darren, Samantha still managed to use her powers, stay out of the spotlight (or at least the prying eyes of neighbor Mrs. Kravitz), solve the problems and still look fantastic all in 25 minutes.  A lot of Samantha's problems came from trying to please her husband Darren or from her relatives and later daughter.  With a twitch of her nose and nary a "hocus pocus" heard she still managed it all.

6. Joanna Beauchamp (Witches of East End) - Joanna Beauchamp has managed to do something so magical it makes the other witches seem like First Years at Hogwarts.  She made me really like Julia Ormond!  I am being slightly snarky with that I fear.  I like Julia Ormond, I just never cared for her characters till now.  Joanna is a fierce witch. She is the protective mother (and ALL that entails) of Freya and Ingrid and loving sister of Wendy (who I thought was going to be my favorite Beauchamp witch). She has proven to be strong, determined and despite all that, she still doesn’t know all the answers.  I like that in my witches; knowing that magic can’t solve all her problems.  Joanna and Julia keep me coming back for more Witches of East End.

7. Lafayette Reynolds (True Blood) - Lafayette may have died in the books early on, but in the TV series he is a series regular and one of the most popular characters.  Later on he learns he is witch when his boyfriend Jesus reveals to him that he is a Brujo.  Lafayette can channel the spirits of the dead and possibly even a demon.

8. Mary Sibley (Salem) - I have only just started watching this series but so far I love what I see. Mary is an interesting, conflicted character.  It is hard not to sympathize with her, but she is certainly not on the side of angels here.  Special recognition has to go out to Tituba, one of the historical Salem “witches” and the bridge point between this series and American Horror Story Coven.

9. Katrina (Sleepy Hollow) - We have only seen glimpses of Katrina and her power. But one thing is for sure she is firmly in the camp of the “Good Witches”.  Also given her birth she would be one of the first women to truly be called an “American Witch”.  I am looking forward to seeing so much more of her next season of what turned out to be one of my favorite shows of 2013.

10. Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent) - She is either a fairy or a witch, maybe both, but there is no doubt that she is powerful. She put a princess to sleep for 100 years and raised and entire forest of thorns.

Honorable Mention: Cassie (Hex), Wicked Witch of the West (Oz, Wicked), Angelique (Dark Shadows), Robin (Witch Hunter Robin), Sabrina (Sabrina the Teen Aged Witch), Luna and Tonks (Harry Potter), Witchiepoo (H.R. Puffinstuff), Jadis (The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe), Rachel Morgan (The Hollows Series) and Kiki (Kiki’s Delivery Service)

Who is your favorite?

Favorite Witches
  free polls 

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Greater Good

I'll admit it. I am a total Harry Potter fanboy.
Loved the books, loved the movies, loved the hype.  JKR can do no wrong in my eyes and I hope she sleeps on a bed made of gold like Smaug (though in truth she supports more charities than most groups of people).

I have read the books a number of times. Have seen all the movies multiple times and I want to throw it out there that if ever a Harry Potter RPG ever gets made then I want my name on the short list of authors.

So anytime there is something new in the Potterverse I am pleased.
The newest new thing is a fan movie called "The Greater Good".

It deals with the end of the friendship and relationship between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald and the lasting effect it had on the Dumbledore family and eventually on a boy named Harry Potter.
This 17 minute film is based around a brief narrative in The Deathly Hollows.

Watch it and make the next magical battle between wizards you have this cool.