Sunday, October 12, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Black Sabbath (1963)

I got the idea to re-watch this one from of the images used in the Krell Labs  banners.  But it has also been years since I have seen it and I have been wanting to watch it again.

Black Sabbath is one of the landmark films of the horror genre. Also known as "I tre volti della paura" or the "Three Faces of Fear". It is a collection of three short stories with introductions by Boris Karloff.  It was Boris Karloff that really scared me the most watching this a kid.  In fact I think this is the movie that my dad showed me to introduce me to Boris Karloff.
It also set the stage for other horror vignettes like Creepshow  nearly 20 years later.

 To this day in fact that old woman in "The Drop of Water" still kinda freaks out.  I also like the idea of treasure, in this case a ring, passing on a curse of fear to anyone that steals it.  That will add some nasty excitement to your character's lives!

"The Telephone" is also the one I remember the least.  Though you can see the origins of many other movies, including Scream here.  Everyday objects can sometimes be the most terrifying.

"The Wurdalak" is one of the ones I remember the best.   The sets for this one remind of the ones used in the Vampire Lovers, but not likely to be the same.

For Ghosts of Albion
Motivation: Feed and dominate the ones they once loved
Creature Type: Vampire
Attributes: Str 9, Dex 9, Con 8, Int 5, Per 5, Will 8
Ability Scores: Muscle 24, Combat 23, Brains 21
Life Points: 149
Drama Points: 2-4
Special Abilities: Age 6, Hard to Kill 8 (2 levels part of Vampire Quality), Increased Life Points 5,  Mesmerism, Restricted Diet (blood of loved ones), Unattractiveness -1, Unique Kill (family heirloom dagger), Vampire

Name Score Damage Notes
Bite 25 34 Must grapple first; no defense action
Grapple 25 Resisted by dodge
Punch 23 24 Bash
Sword 23 42 Slash
Deflect 24 Magic defense action; deflects spells 45º

The Wurdalak can cast shadows and reflect in mirrors.  They are not active at sundown like other types of vampires, but wait till 10:00pm exactly.  To kill the wurdalak one must use a dagger that has been in the monster's family for at least three generations.

Tally so far:  16 Total Watched / 11 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Blade Trilogy (1998, 2002, 2004)

I have been sharing my horror movie watching with my son this time around.  We watched the first Blade movie and he enjoyed it so much we watched the other two as well.

I have seen all three of these, but they were his first time views.

Blade is very much a comic book vampire which really is the precursor to the modern supernatural vampire.   Blade is strong, fast and hunts bad guys. Basically he is like Spider-man with some weaknesses.

Blade (1998) was one of the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.  I did rather like the idea of the summoning a vampire "Blood God".  Seems to work well really.  I am less pleased with the idea of "turned" vs. "born" vampires. But it is something that comes up so often media these days that I am (to quote Blade himself) "trying to ice-skate uphill".  Wesley Snipes will never be considered an A-list actor, but he is a decent enough one for this and he does action well.

Blade II (2002) was also enjoyable if for nothing else Ron Perlman.  But the new type of vampire reminded me at the time and again now of something you would see out of a video game.  Though I do give them credit for actually making them more scary looking.

Blade Trinity (2004) deals with Dracula aka Drake.  Dracula was a huge deal in the Blade comics, here I am not so sure I recognize him as the same Count Dracula, but that is part of the point the film makers wanted to make.   I watched the original ending in the theaters and the unrated DVD ending now.  I had forgotten their were different till I started reading more online.
While fun this was my least favorite of the three.  Though Park Posey almost made up for it.

For Ghosts of Albion or Buffy/Angel
Motivation: To kill vampires
Creature Type: Half-Vampire/Daywalker

Strength 9
Dexterity 9
Constitution 8
Intelligence 4
Perception 5
Willpower 8

Acrobatics 9, Art 1, Computers 1, Crime 7, Driving 4, Getting Medieval 8, Gun Fu 8, Influence 2, Knowledge 4, Kung Fu 9, Languages 4 (English, Japanese, Russian, Romanian), Notice 6, Occultism 7

Life Points: 149
Drama Points: 10

Special Abilities: Contacts 4, Hard to Kill 8 (2 levels part of Vampire Quality), Fast Reaction Time, Immunity to Sunlight,  Increased Life Points 5,  Natural Toughness, Nerves of Steel, Restricted Diet (blood or his serum), Situation Awareness, Vampire

Name Score Damage Notes
Bite 18 34 Must grapple first; no defense action
Dodge 18
Grapple 20 Resisted by dodge
Punch 18 24 Bash
Sword 17 42 Slash
Deflect 15 Magic defense action; deflects spells 45º

Tally so far:  15 Total Watched / 11 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Zatannurday: Justice League Dark Fanmade Film

I was tooling aroung YouTube this week and found this fun little fan-made movie for Justice League Dark.

I am not a big fan of their Constantine, but Deadman and Zatanna are pretty good.
Check it out.

Zatanna is played by Emily Neves.

Friday, October 10, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Dracula Untold (2014)

It's nice to see a movie in the theaters for the challenge every so often.
Dracula Untold is the "untold" story of how Vlad Dracula Tepes became a vampire.

I am not going to say a lot on this to be honest.  I don't want to spoil anyone.  But I will say there is more "300" and "Lord of the Rings" in this than in Bram Stoker's classic.

Still, it was a very fun movie and I am looking forward to talking about more soon.

We took the kids to see it and they really enjoyed it.  Now I will need to have them watch one of the classic Dracula movies.

I'll pick this up on BluRay.

Tally so far:  12 Total Watched / 11 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

Averoigne via Ravenloft

Chances are we are going to go see the new Dracula movie tonight.  But tomorrow I would like to get in some gaming.  My home group is nearly done with Castle Amber so given the season (and their levels) I want to segue right into Ravenloft.

For those that have played it you know that Stephen Amber send the party back to their own reality once they free him.  But what if he didn't? What if didn't have the power to do that since freeing him also meant letting go of all his power.  Stephen fades, Château d' Amberville crumbles to dust and the party is left standing in the mists.  Where are they to go?


Castle Ravenloft.

I have for years talked about the similarities between Château d' Amberville and Castle Ravenloft and the connections between Mystara and the Demi-Plane of Dread.  It is likely that this is all taking place in the Demi-plane of Dread (Ravenloft) or the Dimension of Nightmares (Mystara) where even the Immortals fear to go.

Why do this?

I was thinking about the Doctor Who Series 2 episodes "Rise of the Cybermen" and "Age of Steel".  The Doctor, Rose and Mickey (who had not traveled with them before except for one episode) get stuck in an alternate universe.  Mickey stays behind.
The pay off on this is when we get to the Series 2 Finale and Mickey is back, and not just back, but since he traveled through "the Void" he and Rose are saved from being killed outright by the Daleks and it was Mickey who passed on his time travel energy (or void energy) to the Genesis Ark.

What's the point of this?  Well the reason they went to the parallel universe were not apparant at the time, but paid off in the finale.  From a story arc they all, including and especially Mickey, needed to go to that parallel universe when they did.

My players are in Ravenloft because they have to be.  They needed to free Stephen Amber and stop the Amber family because that gets them to Castle Ravenloft which in turn gets them the Sunsword and the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind.   They are going to need those in the coming darkness.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Return of Count Yorga (1971) & The Deathmaster (1972)

Return of Count Yorga brings back Robert Quarry as Count Yorga and Roger Perry as a different character.  Brudah, the maybe-a-werewolf servant of Yorga is also back.  No real explanation is give as to why or how Yorga and Brudah are back.  Mariette Hartley stars and even Craig T. Nelson has a small role.

If anything this is a better movie than the first Count Yorga.  The story is more original, not just a copy of Dracula, though I guess it is similar to Dracula's Guest.
Plus the horror element is heightened.

The Deathmaster is a Yorga sequel in all but name really.  Robert Quarry now has a beard and he is playing a vampire named Khorda, but the shtick is the same. So are most of the make-up effects.  Khorda now takes control over a group of hippies to turn them into his death cult.
The movie is slower than Return, but it does feature a nasty death scene where leeches are thrown onto a vampire and they kill him.

Interestingly enough. The posters for Count Yorga and Return of Count Yorga refer to the Count as "the Deathmaster" and then next year he was in "The Deathmaster".

Tally so far:  11 Total Watched / 10 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.

PWWO: Calidar

Calidar is out and I reviewed the PDF a couple of days back.  It really is awesome, but I am struck by how well it can be used pretty much anywhere.

Plus look at these awesome maps.

So for this edition of "Plays Well With Others" I want to focus on what you need to do to make Calidar work for your current favorite system.

Calidar and D&D 5
This is kind of a cheat really. One of the implicit design goals of D&D 5 was "D&D your way".  So given that Calidar works well with Pathfinder, working with D&D is not a stretch.  Plus the "default" world of D&D 5 might be the Forgotten Realms, but enough Greyhawk, Dragonlance and even Mystara names are thrown around  it should be obvious that you can play this  on any world.  D&D 5 does a much better job of capturing that high fantasy feel than previous edition's "Points of Light" or "Dungeon-punk" attitudes.  So does Calidar. Plus both D&D 5 and Calidar are new and can "grow up together" in the inventive mind of a DM.

The best thing about this marriage is you don't even the "full" version of D&D 5!  You can use the free D&D 5 Basic edition. The races are the basic four (human, elf, dwarf, halfling) and the basic four classes (cleric, fighter, wizard, thief).  This stripped down version of D&D5 works perfect with Calidar.  The races all have their own respective planets and the classes cover all the bases.

Calidar and Original D&D
Or you could go the other direction and use the original D&D rules. The same reasons apply from D&D 5, but I have something specific here in mind.  I would play Calidar more as a Planetary Romance.  One thing I always to do was play OD&D as a Barsoomian game.  I loved the Edgar Rice Burroughs books and I always felt that OD&D and Barsoom would be a perfect fit.  Calidar would be the glue that holds it all together.
Plus Calidar has a Mars-like planet now, but sadly not a Barsoomian one.  Barsoom would be a nice fit and give the Calidar game something a little bit different.
Here are some links I have been using to get my Mars/Barsoomian fixes.

Looking forward to trying this out with my current game.

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