Showing posts with label television. Show all posts
Showing posts with label television. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Oh, Oh Shelia!

Busy day at the day job today (Fall term is starting) so a quick one today.  I picked up the Icons of the Realms: Dragons of Stormwreck Castle minis over the weekend. I mentioned these back in June and had hoped they would at least include the thief Shelia.  Well...they didn't.

Icons of the Realms: Dragons of Stormwreck Castle minisIcons of the Realms: Dragons of Stormwreck Castle minis
 

I do like the way they all look.

Icons of the Realms: Dragons of Stormwreck Castle minis

I was never a big watcher of the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon. I worked on Saturdays and often missed it. BUT I picked up the DVD boxed set back in the early 2000s and my kids LOVED it. It was the set with the 3rd Edition stats for everyone.  

You might notice that this set is missing Bobby, Uni, and Shelia. I will get to that in a bit.  It does include someone just labeled "Cleric."

I can't help but think that this Cleric is none other than Aleena.

Is that you Aleena?

The outfits are not perfect. And I thought I read somewhere that Aleena was a blonde. But this certainly works.  I have been using Aleena as the Patron Saint of Adventurers for a while now.  Though like the D&D cartoon, the D&D Red Basic set for BECMI was not something I was into then.

Since Kelek was in the D&D Cartoon and Skylla was supposed to be they seem to work well with this set.

D&D Cartoon reunion

Oh Shelia

I said I did not watch the D&D cartoon much, but I was aware of it. I can't help but wonder if the red-headed girl with a penchant for wearing purple and hoods in 1983-85 didn't somehow influence my red-headed witch with a penchant for purple dresses and black hoods in 1986?  I honestly can't say.

In fact, I did even think about it until I scored this D&D Cartoon "kids" book at my local game auction.  It is called "The Witch's Spell Book."

The Witch's Spell Book

The basic plot is you have the Golden Wood by finding Agnes the Witch's Spell Book. For reasons, only Shelia can read the spell. You would think Presto, but no it is Shelia. 

Now not to go out on a limb too far, but those that make Shelia an initiate witch?  It would in my games. She is 13 in the show, the age witches often "hear the Call of the Goddess" in my game worlds. (BTW this is what makes Larina special, she heard the Call at age 6.)

But sadly I don't get to add Shelia to my War of the Witch Queens yet. But all is not lost thanks to Hero Forge!

HeroForge Shelia the Thief HeroForge Shelia the Thief

I could get the print from HeroForge and for the Invisible Sheila download the STL and print her here at home in clear resin.  Like I did for my "Ghost" of Aleena.  Click on the pictures above to buy your own from HeroForge.

Aleena

I think we have some clear blue resin still.

If Shelia has a theme song then Aleena should too.  It kinda works. Or maybe this one, if I go with the idea that she was a blonde. At least the timing of all three is right for me. 

So that only leaves a question for me.  Should I introduce Shelia to my War of the Witch Queens campaign?  I might need to revisit the dual classing or multi-classing rules from OSE Advanced.

They do all fit on my shelf rather nicely together.

Witches in the Realms of Dungeons & Dragons


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Old School Essentials: Eddie and Chrissy

Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy Player's Tome
Stranger Things is still making news and dominating all sorts of geeky-related culture and I think that is great.  While I do agree that Saddie Sink, aka Max, got absolutely robbed of an Emmy nomination this year, I am enjoying all the love that Joseph Quinn and Grace Van Dien, the ill-fated Eddie Munson and Chrissy Cunningham are getting online.

Spoilers for Stranger Things Season 4 follow.

Eddie is the metal-loving, D&D playing, "super-senior" and head of the Hellfire Club.  Chrissy is the popular cheerleader who goes to Eddie to look for drugs to help stop the visions she is getting.  Their few moment of screen-time have prompted the Duffer Brothers to come out and say they regret killing both characters because their chemistry was so good. This has led to the Internet's newest "ship" of Eddie/Chrissy, known online as #eddissy or #hellcheer.

Grace Van Dien has been on her Twitter account and is a huge #eddissy fan. 

It's cute. The metal head and the cheerleader find common ground and even become close. Hell back in, oh about the exact same time, I remember talking to a classmate when we were both outside of our high school social structures and I was very surprised and very pleased that this cheerleader I barely knew had such excellent taste in music (from my point of view).  Certainly opened my young eyes.

So yeah. I am not much of a shipper these days, but this is fun.  Then I got to see this artwork.

Well. Eddie and Chrissy might have fallen to Vecna/#1/Henry in Hawkins, but that doesn't mean a D&D version of them didn't survive somewhere!  So here they are for Old School Essentials - Advanced Fantasy.  And since I just got back from the Bristol Ren Faire I have some ideas. 

Chrissy Cunningham
2nd level Human Acrobat
Chaotic Good

STR: 12
INT: 16
WIS: 12
DEX: 17
CON: 11
CHA: 16

HP: 6
AC: 7
THAC0: 19 [0]

Saving Throws
D: 13 W: 14 P: 13 B: 16: S: 15

Acrobat Skills
CS: 88 FA: 25 HS: 15 MS: 25 TW: 65

Eddie Munson
3rd level human Arcane Bard*
Chaotic Good

STR: 14
INT: 14
WIS: 13
DEX: 15
CON: 13
CHA: 17

HP: 13
AC: 7
THAC0: 19 [0]

Saving Throws
D: 13 W: 14 P: 13 B: 16: S: 15

Powers
Bard skills, Lore, Spell Casting*

*Druid spells don't really fit Eddie, so he is getting Magic-User spells instead. The Arcane Bard from Carcass Crawler 0 is a better fit.

Bard Skills
CS: 79 HN: 1-3 PP: 30 RL: 60

First Level: Charm Person, Shield

--

Based on the wonderful art from JC above, this version of Eddie and Chrissy are street performers by day and thieves by night. I imagine they come into a town Eddie plays while Chrissy dances for tips all the while scoping out the locals.  They try to steal only from the very rich and corrupt. It usually doesn't take them long to figure out who their mark will be.  

They are not evil, so they steal what they can and give most of it away to the needy, keeping a couple of choice items for themselves. They also keep enough from their take and tips to live a comfortable, if nomadic lifestyle.

Since these characters are in OSE-Advanced, I might make them "blink and you will miss them" NPCs in my War of the Witch Queens campaign. I am going to say they have a small apartment above the tavern they perform at in the town of West Haven.  Here they just perform, no theft.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Trailer: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

I am a huge "Lord of the Rings" fan.  

I reread the trilogy and the hobbit every couple of years, and I always find new enjoyment. I have read and re-read The Silmarillion a couple of times now and I think it gets better each and every time.  I have enjoyed his unfinished tales, I loved The Children of HĂşrin, and I have been dying to start The Fall of Gondolin.

Small part of my Tolkien collection

I have all the Lord of the Rings movies and yes I did rebuy them each and every time they were released on a new medium, DVD, Blu-Ray, and Ultra HD Blu-Ray.

So I am a fan.

And I am REALLY looking forward to seeing Amazon's new The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

I cannot adequately describe what it is like to see the Two Trees after only seeing them forever in my thoughts. Reminds me of the line from Stairway to Heaven. "In my thoughts, I have seen, rings of smoke through the trees, and the voices of those who stand looking."

I love the Harfoots as proto-ish-Hobbits. I think Morfydd Clark will make a FANTASTIC Galadriel.  People complaining about Galadriel wearing armor and fighting obviously know nothing of her history. Before she turns into Cate Blanchet she was a warrior, a rebel and who was the "only woman to stand tall in those days" according to the Unfinished Tales and Silmarillion. She has a dark past full of murder and war.  

We have PharazĂ´n, before he becomes the last King of NĂşmenor. No word yet on whether or not Annatar will appear, but I am betting he will. In fact. I am sure of it.  No word on FĂ«anor though. 

Yes, there are certain liberties being taken.  But that is the nature of storytelling and I am fine with it.

But yes. I am really looking forward to this.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday was my Birthday!

 My oldest spent his day off smoking ribs and brisket for me.

Smoked Meats!Smoked Meats and a potato

My youngest made me a strawberry pie with strawberries picked from my wife's garden.

Strawberry Pie

I also picked up some D&D-related gifts for myself. A Hellfire Club t-shirt (from Stranger Things).

Hellfire Club t-shirt

Custom Skylla figure

And a 6" custom Skylla figure.  She looks pretty good with the rest of my Skylla figures and minis. 

Skyllas

I got some other stuff too. A new hard drive for my computer project. A new Dremel for various projects around the house.

Speaking of computer projects, my new one is taking a bit longer, but I am getting there. Had to remove the old CRT faceplate so I can replace it with an LCD.

TRS-80 Computer rebuild

Still debating which OS to go with on this one.  I kinda want to go with Ubuntu Linux.  My CoCo uses Debian Linux, but I am betting I'll have the processing power to go with Windows.  Either way, I really want a program language IDE on it. Maybe Python.

So Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

#AtoZChallenge2022: X is for The X-Files

The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories X
The A to Z of Conspiracy Theories: X is for Planet X

This one is a last-minute switch.  I might find some use for my "Planet X" post at a future date.  But today I want to talk about the X-Files.  You can't talk about Conspiracy Theories and ignore the X-Files.

This also gives me a chance to go back to the very beginning of my A to Z journey. Not April 1st, but April 2011.

Here is what I said about the X-Files then (with edits to update).

X is for X-Files (2011)

In the 90s everything was conspiracy theories, don't trust the government and the Truth was Out There.

On TV we had the X-Files.

There was a paranoia in the 90s.  Today it has boiled over into disgust about our government (believe I know, I live in Illinois, we have one ex-Governor in prison and another headed there two Ex-Governors that are also Ex-Cons.  But back then it was a general low hum of paranoia, suspicion, and doubt.  It started with Iran-Contra and moved on to movies like "JFK".  It was the climate that allowed the X-Files to grow.

It began on a start-up network called Fox, long before they became synonymous for killing shows, good or bad, too early or shitty news.  X-Files was their hit, their main show outside of the Simpsons really, and they kept it on for 9 years and then again for 2 more in 2016 and 2018.

Let's be honest here, the X-Files did more for genre TV than anything else. It was a cultural phenomenon and most television shows that we enjoyed in the 2000s and on are a result of this little show by Chris Carter.   People go on and on about Whedon, but Carter and the X-files has been nominated for more Emmys and the show had won more collective awards.  Even in its "worst" season X-files still had 3 times the views of Buffy. Plus there is not an episode of Supernatural that doesn't in some way or another recall the X-files.  The Winchesters are Mulder and Scully for the 2000s.

I came to the show late.  I was working on my thesis at the time and I rarely watched TV.  Once I graduated I became a fast convert.  It became my Friday night ritual (I was watching them with my then-girlfriend, so that is ok).  It was also one of the shows I did not invest in any fandom merchandise.  I have an X-files soundtrack CD and Mulder and Scully action figures, but I got them as gifts.  But I really got into the show all the same.  One of the first desktop "themes" I had for my brand spanking new copy of Windows 95 was an X-files one.

I loved the season-long and multi-season-long story arcs, I loved the characters, and I didn't even care when my then girlfriend (and now wife) would go on about how hot Mulder or Skinner were.  That was fine with me.  I got to see Scully, and she was hot and super smart.

The Godfather of the X-files is "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" and Darrin McGavin even made some guest spots on the show.  X-Files, while the "mythos arc" is lauded, sometimes worked the best on the "monster of the week" episodes.  Sure the aliens were great and those were the ones I got excited about, but the ones I recall the best, Flukeman, "Theef", the freaky weird family, the hallucinogenic fungus, the chupacabra.  Like Kolchak, X-files did it's best job when it dealt with "small stories"; episodes that dealt with a local myth, legend, or monster and came at it with Mulder the one ready to believe anything, and Scully looking for the reasoned explanation.  I also liked the "spin-offs" of Millennium and the Lone Gunmen.

One day I am going to go back to the world of the X-Files.  Back when Clinton was still president, freaky half-worm/half-man things lived in chemical toilets, cigarette-smoking men and well-manicured men sat in dark rooms with darker purposes, aliens kidnapped little girls and the Truth Was Out There.

For NIGHT SHIFT

The trouble with X-Files is it was doomed from the start.  You can't keep the characters or the audience in the dark all the time and have a good show, and the more secrets you reveal the less the characters have to uncover.  They kept it up though for a good long run.

The same is true for any conspiracy game.  Conspiracy X, by Eden Studios, is a great example.  You can totally run an "X-Files" game with it, but how often can you keep the players in the dark when they are looking for secrets?  The same is true for the RPG The Unexplained (which was my "U" for 2012).

This is something Game Masters need to keep in mind when running any sort of Conspiracy based RPG. 

For NIGHT SHIFT in particular I tried to capture all of this, via the lens of Kolchak: The Night Stalker in my "Weirdly World News" Night World. But here I only scratched the surface and if this month has shown me anything there is so much more to talk about.

The NIGHT SHIFT RPG is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Legend of Vox Machina

My family finished watching the Amazon Prime series "The Legend of Vox Machina" from Critical Role and honestly it was a lot of fun.

The Legend of Vox Machina

It was funny, exciting, and really just a lot of great gamer humor without feeling like gamer humor.

A big problem I have with most gamer-related fiction is you can often, as I say, "hear the dice rolling in the background."  Not so with this.  Yes there are the expected name drops, the occasional mention of a power (Grog wanting to "rage") or a spell (Keyleth saying she can only do that one once a day) but that all took a backseat to what makes any bit of fiction good; good story and characters you can care about.

I have not listened to any of the Critical Role episodes, but my oldest LOVES them.  So we backed the Kickstarter and honestly, we have been very pleased.  He let me know later how the animated series differs from the actual play episodes.  So now I do want to go back to those older Campaign One episodes and listen to them all.

Also not since the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon has D&D seen this much success in a televised medium.  Amazon already renewed it for a second season before season one even premiered.

It has met with critical success, including a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 94% audience score. 

Whether you are a fan or not one thing is certain, Critical Role is one of D&D greatest achievements in terms of getting more people interested in our little game.  Born out of an odd combination of Pathfinder and D&D 5 the World of Tal'dorei has also seen quite a bit of success in the D&D 5 printed world with three (soon to be four) books.

Critical Role books

In addition to the series, the actual play episodes, and the gaming material there are comic books, action figures, clothes, and gear.  There is even a 1/6th scale statue of the characters Vex and Vax from Vox Machina coming out.  You know for a fact if there were statues of Keyleth and Jester coming out they would never be able to keep them in stock. Yes even at the nearly $200 price tag.

When was the last time one of your campaigns did all of that?  Ok. I do have 1/6th scale versions of two of my own iconic witches. No, I am not going to share how much I spent on them.

So the show was a lot of fun, maybe a touch adult for some, a lot of swearing some nudity, lots of gore. But seriously, does no one remember gaming when they were 14? 

I wish them the best of luck and hope for their continued success. 

Monday, January 31, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Motherland Fort Salem

I missed a couple of days last week on this.  Busy at the day job.  But I am making up for it today, the last day.  Today I want to feature the witches of Motherland Fort Salem

Season 3 has not started yet and there is a huge push to get a Season 4.  While I do respect the creators to tell their story in a three-season arc, I would love to see more.

If you have not been watching then you are missing out. The show is fantastic really. 

Motherland gives us an alternate history where witches rose up during Salem and forged a pact with the then Colonies to protect the new country from their enemies.  There are fewer states in the US and a large portion, The Cession, was given back to the Native Americans in return for their help and magic.  

The series follows three new witch recruits, Abby, Tally, and Raelle, as they go through Basic Training and later War College and how they survive as a unit.   The show does a great job of featuring both their strengths and their weaknesses and how they work together to be a better whole. 

The show features a full cast of strong, interesting women characters.  The leader of the Army is General Alder, a 300+-year-old witch, their drill sergeant is a woman. Even the President is an African-American woman.  Men are either tertiary characters at best (the Witch-Father) or eye-candy (Abby's two boy toys).  Tally doesn't even see a man until one gives up his seat for her so she can fly from California to Massachusetts.  Not that men are put into a bad light.  The Witch Father is respected and well-liked. Raelle's dad is proud of his daughter and worries about her.  It's just their stories are not as important here.  That's a nice change of pace really.

The witches are also not a Ms. Pac-Man trope. They are warriors, witches but also women and they are allowed to be all three. It really is quite enjoyable and very different from what I have seen in the past. 

I can't wait for Season 3!

In the past, I have stated the witches of the Bellweather Unit/Sekhmet Company for OSR D&D, D&D 5e, and NIGHT SHIFT.  

So here they are again for another show overtly about empowered (and powered up) women, Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG, and mixing in bits of Ghosts of Albion RPG

Since magic has a greater role in M:FS than it does in Buffy, I am going to use Ghost of Albion Magic Rules.

Since I missed four days, here are all the characters to make for it (with an extra one)!

Raelle Collar
(Taylor Hickson)

Hero

"I'm in this with you, and we're gonna figure it out together, okay? Whoever you are, whoever you were, I'm in. No matter what happens, no matter what anybody else thinks, I'm with you."

Life Points: 65
Drama Points: 15

Strength 2
Dexterity 4
Constitution 5
Intelligence 3
Perception 3
Willpower 2

Qualities
Attractiveness (2)
Contacts (2, Amry, Spree)
Hard to Kill 9 (bonded with the Mycelium) 
Immortal (bonded with the Mycelium) 
Nerves of Steel
Soldier
Witch (Magic) (3)
- Magical Philosophy, Fixer (Healer)

Drawbacks
Adversary (lots)
Honorable (2)
Love, Romantic (Scyla)
Obligation (3, Army)

Useful Information
Initiative +4
Observation +5

Height: 5'4" 
Hair:  Blonde
Eyes:  Blue

Skills
Acrobatics 1
Art 2
Computers NA (Tech seems to be about 1980 levels, but no computers)
Crime 2
Doctor 6
Driving 1
Gun-Fu 0 (I have not seen any guns in this universe)
Getting Medieval 4
Influence 3
Knowledge 3
Kung Fu 2
Languages 2 (English, MĂ©nĂ­shè)
Mr. Fix-it 1
Notice 2
Occultism 4
Science 1
Sports 1


Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +8 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +9 - Defense Action
Scourge +8 7 Attack Action
Windstrike +6 7 Attack Action
Witch Bomb +6 Special Special

Gear
Scourge, Salva

Raelle lived in the part of American known as the Chippewa Cession where the Indigenous Tribal Federations are.  She is a healer of great power like her mother was.  Her mother was reported dead by the Army and Raelle blames the Army and Gen. Bellweather in particular.  She doesn't want to be there and her plan was to get enlisted in the infantry and get killed as soon as possible.  Her attitude earned her the nickname "shitbird" from Abby.

Raelle attitude changed when she met and fell in love with fellow cadet Scylla Ramshorn.

She came in contact with the great mycelium network under Fort Salem and she has bonded to it. This makes her practically immortal.  She has a special attack dubbed "the witch bomb" which lays waste to all around her.  She is hesitant to use it.

--

Tally Craven
(Jessica Sutton)

Hero

"
It's my duty to fight for this country. I think of it more as a privilege. A privilege we witches share."

Life Points: 37
Drama Points: 15

Strength 2
Dexterity 3
Constitution 4
Intelligence 3
Perception 5
Willpower 4

Qualities
Attractiveness (2)
Contacts (1, Army)
Fast Reaction Time
Hard to Kill 1 
Nerves of Steel
Soldier
Witch (Magic) (3)
- Magical Philosophy, Seer

Drawbacks
Adversary (lots)
Honorable (3)
Obligation (3, Army)
Tradition Bound

Useful Information
Initiative +5
Observation +10 (+13 with magic)

Height: 5'6"
Hair: Auburn
Eyes: Brown

Skills
Acrobatics 2
Art 2
Computers NA (Tech seems to be about 1980 levels, but no computers)
Crime 1
Doctor 2
Driving 1
Gun-Fu 0
Getting Medieval 4
Influence 3
Knowledge 4
Kung Fu 2
Languages 2 (English, MĂ©nĂ­shè)
Mr. Fix-it 1
Notice 5
Occultism 4
Science 1
Sports 1


Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +7 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +8 - Defense Action
Scourge +7 7 Attack Action
Windstrike +7 7 Attack Action
Sight +13 Special Special

Gear
Scourge, Salva

Tally comes from the depleted Craven line. All her aunts had gone to fight in the Army and they all died.  She is the last of her line. She lived in the Matrifocal Allotment near Sacramento, California. She had not even seen a male until she answered her call of duty, an action her mother strongly wished her not to do.  Her power is to "see." She can detect disguised and hidden objects or people and might be one of the most powerful seers to come up in the ranks in a long time.

Tally is a sweet girl who loves with all her heart because that is what she knows.  She is fiercely loyal to her Unit.

She saved Alder's life when she volunteered to become a Biddie for a short time.  This has given her access to Alders memories.

--

Abigail Bellweather
(Ashley Williams)

Hero

"
Obviously you're familiar with the Bellweather name..."

Life Points: 44
Drama Points: 15

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

Qualities
Attractiveness (2)
Contacts (2, Army, Bellweather family)
Hard to Kill 2 
Nerves of Steel
Resources (10)
Soldier
Status (4)
Witch (Magic) (3)
- Magical Philosophy, Storm magic

Drawbacks
Adversary (lots)
Honorable (3)
Obligation (4, Army)
Tradition Bound

Useful Information
Initiative +3
Observation +6

Height: 5'8" 
Hair:  Brown 
Eyes: Brown  

Skills
Acrobatics 4
Art 0
Computers NA (Tech seems to be about 1980 levels, but no computers)
Crime 1
Doctor 1
Driving 2
Gun-Fu 0
Getting Medieval 4
Influence 4
Knowledge 4
Kung Fu 3
Languages 2 (English, MĂ©nĂ­shè)
Mr. Fix-it 1
Notice 3
Occultism 5
Science 1
Sports 1


Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +7 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +8 - Defense Action
Scourge +7 7 Attack Action
Windstrike +7 7 Attack Action
Maelstrom Generation +11 Special Special

Gear
Scourge, Salva

Abigail "Abby" Bellweather, of the East Coast Bellweathers, is the leader of the Bellweather Unit.  She starts out in the show as an arrogant, if even spoiled, girl of privilege. By the end of the series she is the leader she was born to be.  Even her rivalries with Raelle and fellow East Coast witch Libba Swythe become something different as she accepts the responsibility of what being a soldier-witch means.

When the Camarilla targeted her family and killed her cousin she has dedicated her entire training to wiping them out. 

--

Scylla Ramshorn
(Amalia Holm)

Hero, Villan, Anti-Hero

"I like you, okay? I have feelings for you, and they're not something I'm used to having ... not something I'm used to dealing with. I'm a dodger, which means no attachments. Because things go away, we go away."

Life Points: 44
Drama Points: 15

Strength 2
Dexterity 3
Constitution 5
Intelligence 4
Perception 4
Willpower 3

Qualities
Attractiveness (2)
Contacts (1, Spree)
Hard to Kill 2 
Nerves of Steel
Soldier (Dodger)
Witch (Magic) (4)
- Magical Philosophy, Necromancer

Drawbacks
Adversary (lots)
Love, Romantic (Raelle)
Obligation (1, Army)
Obligation (4, The Spree)

Useful Information
Initiative +3
Observation +8

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

Skills
Acrobatics 1
Art 1
Computers NA (Tech seems to be about 1980 levels, but no computers)
Crime 4
Doctor 2
Driving 1
Gun-Fu 0
Getting Medieval 3
Influence 3
Knowledge 3
Kung Fu 3
Languages 2 (English, MĂ©nĂ­shè)
Mr. Fix-it 1
Notice 4
Occultism 5
Science 1
Sports 1


Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +6 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +7 - Defense Action
Scourge +7 - Attack Action
Windstrike +8 - Attack Action
Other magic +12 Special Special

Gear
Scourge, Salva

Scylla is a "Necro" or a Necromancer.  Because their power makes others uneasy they are quartered in a different part of the base. We learn that Scylla's parents were killed when she was young.   She meets and falls in love with Raelle.  Later we find out she is part of the terrorist organization known as The Spree, responsible for hundreds of deaths across the country.  Her job was to recruit Raelle, but she actually fell in love with her.

Scylla was instrumental in discovering the location and leadership of the local Camarilla faction.  With her help Raelle got to see her mother one more time and now she, along with the Spree, are protecting the Bellwether Unit.

--

General Sarah Alder
(Lyne Renee)

Very Experienced Hero

"Honor me, make a place for me and my kind and we will win your wars."

Life Points: 88
Drama Points: 20

Strength 3
Dexterity 3
Constitution 9 (with biddies)
Intelligence 5
Perception 5
Willpower 4

Qualities
Age (3)
Attractiveness (2)
Contacts (4, Army, Governments)
Fast Reaction Time
Hard to Kill 6 
Nerves of Steel
Soldier
Witch (Magic) (8)
- Magical Philosophy, War magic

Drawbacks
Adversary (lots)
Honorable (3)
Obligation (4, Army)
Tradition Bound

Useful Information
Initiative +5
Observation +9

Height: 5'9"
Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue 

Skills
Acrobatics 3
Art 2
Computers NA (Tech seems to be about 1980 levels, but no computers)
Crime 4
Doctor 3
Driving 3
Gun-Fu 
Getting Medieval 9
Influence 7
Knowledge 5
Kung Fu 5
Languages 3 (English, MĂ©nĂ­shè, French)
Mr. Fix-it 2
Notice 4
Occultism 9
Science 1
Sports 1

Combat
Maneuver Bonus  Damage  Notes
Dodge / Parry     +12 - Defense Action                           
Grapple +13 - Defense Action
Scourge +17 18 Attack Action
Windstrike +17 18 Attack Action
Other magic +21 Special Special

Gear
Scourge, Salva

Sarah Alder was a survivor of the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th Centuries. She rallied her fellow witches at Salem, Massachusetts and presented the new government with a deal. Save us and we will fight your wars.  The US Government and the Witches have been allies ever since.  

Sarah maintains her youth with her select group of "biddies" or women that have sacrificed their own youth so she may remain forever young.  The biddies and Alder are all connected, much in the way a witch and familiar might be.  Thus Sarah can call on greater magics than her already high level has access to.

Alder appears to die at the end of the last episode of Season 2, but instead we see she has become part of the mycelium network.

--

Damn. Now I want to rewatch all of Season 1 and 2 again!

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge

Friday, December 17, 2021

Friday Night Videos: Remembering Mike Nesmith

Not everything I post here is game-related.

Friday Night Videos is a prime example.  And in truth, there might not be a Friday Night Videos (or even an MTV as we used to know it) without the pioneering work of Mike Nesmith.

Nesmith, who passed away on December 10 at the age of 78 was one of the members of the fake rock band, The Monkees.  LAter he created the show PopClips that was later sold to Time Warner and gave us MTV.  This is not a surprise since the Monkees show was essentially a surreal sitcom with music video sensibilities.  It played in reruns to kids like me that would grow up into teens with MTV.

Mike Nesmith is the Godfather of Music Videos.  Yes, there were music videos before, some WAY before, but he turned them into entertainment for the masses.

So here's Nes and some of my favorite songs he has written.

He also was featured on songs written by others. 


His best though, is one he wrote and performed and became something of a signature song.

Weren't they good, they made me happy.  Miss yeah Nes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Masters of the Universe: Revelation

Evil-Lyn the real star
It is late Tuesday night (now early Wednesday morning) and I just finished binge-watching Masters of the Universe: Revelation with my wife.  Now I only consider myself a causal MotU fan, but it really should come as no shock or surprise that my two favorite characters were Teela (because who doesn't like a highly capable redhead) and Evil-Lyn (because...well I am sure you have met me by now).    So after hearing all the whiny-ass man babies online bitching and moaning that Kevin Smith had "destroyed their childhood" I knew right away one thing. 

I was going to love it.  And I did.

If Part 1 was "The Teela Show" then Part 2 was that and "The Evil-Lyn" show.  

Though I am happy to also report that my other favorite character, Duncan the Man-at-Arms, also fared well.

My enjoyment of Evil-Lyn in particular and the MotU, in general, come not from watching the show back in the 80s all that much, but instead from one episode.  The Witch and the Warrior, written by none other than Paul Dini himself.  In an interesting twist, Paul Dini created the character Harley Quinn and Kevin Smith the executive producer of Masters of the Universe: Revelation named his own daughter Harley Quinn Smith. 

Watching this was a fun romp through nostalgia land and there were more than a few tongue-in-cheek references.  Also having Lena Headly as Evil-Lyn, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Teela and Liam Cunningham as Duncan was great. And Mark Hamil chewing up the scenery as Skeletor? That's just the icing on a great cake. 

We get more background on Teela, and the payoff the original series promised.  We get some more background on Evil-Lyn which is also great, but I think it is different than in other versions of this franchise.  No matter really, I know even less about those.

Personally, I am thrilled we got a kick-ass Teela and Evil-Lyn.  I always felt that He-Man himself was the least interesting character in the franchise, though this one made me feel a little different about that.

Evil makes you hotter

I like where it ended for all the characters involved. But especially for Evil-Lyn.

Lyn at 25

Evil-Lyn as Master of the Universe

No new season has been announced, but I like what I am seeing here to be honest.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Motherland: Fort Salem Season 2 and NIGHTSHIFT

Last year's big surprise hit for me was Motherland Fort Salem and Season 2 starts tonight!

Motherland Fort Salem

And I can't wait!

The show gave us a very different sort of Army and a different sort of witches.  Now with Season 2 we have two different witch factions (the Army and the Spree) and an ancient group of Witch Hunters called The Camarilla.  I am also looking forward to learning more about the "Mother Language" that witches can speak called MĂ©nĂ­shè.  Reminds me of what was trying to be done with Inha as a witch language

If this all sounds like a great RPG setting, you are right! This is a fantastic setting for NIGHT SHIFT.

I am stating up the characters up to the end of Season 1, but not including the game-changing season finale.

Raelle Collar
(Taylor Hickson)

5th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 13 (+1)
Constitution: 15 (+1) s
Intelligence: 12 (0) s
Wisdom: 13 (+1) P
Charisma: 15 (+1) 

HP: 19  (5d4) +5
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +1  Ranged bonus: +2
Saves: +4 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch)

Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue

Spells
1st level: Cure Light Wounds, Sleep, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: Continual Flame, Levitate
3rd level: Cure Disease

Raelle lived in the part of American known as the Chippewa Cession where the Indigenous Tribal Federations are.  She is a healer of great power like her mother was.  Her mother was reported dead by the Army and Raelle blames the Army and Gen. Bellweather in particular.  She doesn't want to be there and her plan was to get enlisted in the infantry and get killed as soon as possible.  Her attitude earned her the nickname "shitbird" from Abby.

Raelle attitude changed when she met and fell in love with fellow cadet Scylla Ramshorn.

Abigail Bellweather
(Ashley Williams)

5th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 12 (0) s
Dexterity: 11 (0)
Constitution: 13 (+1)
Intelligence: 14 (+1) s
Wisdom: 11 (0)
Charisma: 17 (+2) P

HP: 18 (5d4) +5
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +1  Ranged bonus: +1
Saves: +4 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch)

Hair: Dark Brown
Eyes: Brown

Spells
1st level: Detect Snares & Pits, Obscurement, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: Levitate, Suggestion
3rd level: Curse

Abigail "Abby" Bellweather, of the East Coast Bellweathers, is the leader of the Bellweather Unit.  She starts out in the show as an arrogant, if even spoiled, girl of privilege. By the end of the series, she is the leader she was born to be.  Even her rivalries with Raelle and fellow East Coast witch Libba Swythe become something different as she accepts the responsibility of what being a soldier-witch means.

Tally Craven
(Jessica Sutton)

5th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 11 (0)
Dexterity: 13 (+1) 
Constitution: 14 (+1) 
Intelligence: 13 (+1) s
Wisdom: 14 (+1) P
Charisma: 16 (+2) s

HP: 18 (5d4) +5
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +1  Ranged bonus: +2
Saves: +4 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch)

Hair: Red
Eyes: Brown

Spells
1st level: Detect Evil, Detect Magic, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: Knock, Levitate
3rd level: Clairvoyance

Tally comes from the depleted Craven line. All her aunts had gone to fight in the Army and they all died.  She is the last of her line. She lived in the Matrifocal Allotment near Sacramento, California. She had not even seen a male until she answered her call of duty, an action her mother strongly wished her not to do.  Her power is to "see." She can detect disguised and hidden objects or people and might be one of the most powerful seers to come up in the ranks in a long time.

Tally is a sweet girl who loves with all her heart because that is what she knows.  She is fiercely loyal to her Unit.

Scylla Ramshorn
(Amalia Holm)

6th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 11 (0)
Dexterity: 13 (+1) 
Constitution: 16 (+2) 
Intelligence: 14 (+1) s
Wisdom: 13 (+1) s
Charisma: 18 (+3) P

HP: 27 (6d4) +12
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +4/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +1  Ranged bonus: +2
Saves: +4 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch)

Hair: Dark Brown
Eyes: Blue

Spells
1st level: Deathwatch, Obscurement, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: Levitate, Phantasmal Image, Suggestion
3rd level: Animate Dead, Speak with Dead

Scylla is a "Necro" or a Necromancer.  Because their power makes others uneasy they are quartered in a different part of the base. We learn that Scylla's parents were killed when she was young.   She meets and falls in love with Raelle.  Later we find out she is part of the terrorist organization known as The Spree, responsible for hundreds of deaths across the country.  Her job was to recruit Raelle, but she actually fell in love with her.

General Sarah Alder
(Lyne Renee)

20th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 13 (+1) 
Dexterity: 14 (+1) 
Constitution: 20 (+4) 
Intelligence: 17 (+2) s
Wisdom: 16 (+2) s
Charisma: 20 (+4) P

HP: 123 (10d4+18) +80
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +8/+5/+3
Melee bonus: +7  Ranged bonus: +7
Saves: +8 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch), Telepathic Transmission, Arcane Bonds (Biddies) 

Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Spells
1st level: Command, Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Inflict Light Wounds, Protection from Evil, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: Cause Fear, Continual Flame, Lesser Restoration, Levitate, Suggestion
3rd level: Clairvoyance, Curse, Haste, Protection from Evil 10', Unholy Blight
4th level: Arcane Eye, Confusion, Hallucinatory Terrain, Phantasmal Killer, Restoration. 
5th level: Cloudkill, Commune, Domination, Telekinesis
6th level: Control Weather, Disintegrate, Feeblemind, Slay Living
7th level: Death Aura, Veneration, Wave of Mutilation, Windershins Dance
8th level: Antipathy/Sympathy, Damning Stare, Discern Location, Wail of the Banshee
9th level: Astral Projection, Breath of the Goddess, Mystic Barrier

"Honor me, make a place for me and my kind and we will win your wars."
- General Sarah Alder to Massachusetts Bay Militia, Say the Words

Sarah Alder was a survivor of the witch hunts of the 16th and 17th Centuries. She rallied her fellow witches at Salem, Massachusetts and presented the new government with a deal. Save us and we will fight your wars.  The US Government and the Witches have been allies ever since.  

Sarah maintains her youth with her select group of "biddies" or women that have sacrificed their own youth so she may remain forever young.  The biddies and Alder are all connected, much in the way a witch and familiar might be.  Thus Sarah can call on greater magics than her already high level has access to.

Sergeant Anacostia Quartermain
(Demetria McKinney)

10th level Witch

Base Abilities
Strength: 16 (+2) s
Dexterity: 17 (+2) 
Constitution: 16 (+2) 
Intelligence: 13 (+1) 
Wisdom: 15 (+1) P
Charisma: 16 (+2) s

HP: 45 (10d4) +20
AC: 6 combat armor
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +5/+3/+2
Melee bonus: +4  Ranged bonus: +4
Saves: +5 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Innate Magic: Wind Shear (1d6 per level of witch), Telepathic Transmission

Hair: Black
Eyes: Brown

Spells
1st level: Command, Inflict Light Wounds, Sleep, Wind Strike* (treat as an air-based magic missile)
2nd level: ESP, Levitate, Phantasmal Image, Suggestion
3rd level: Clairvoyance, Dispel Magic, Protection from Evil 10'
4th level: Arcane Eye, Phantasmal Killer, Produce Fire
5th level: Harm, Telekinesis

Staff Sergeant Anacostia Quartermain serves as the sergeant for the Bellweather Unit.  She is absolutely loyal to General Alder but also cares a great deal for the girls in her unit. 

She is a highly trained combat witch.

--

Motherland: Fort Salem would be an excellent setting, aka "Night World" for NIGHT SHIFT.  I am hoping to learn more about the witch hunters in the Camarilla this season and I hope Tally will be OK, and what ever happened to Rae and Abby.

Get NIGHT SHIFT here:

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Fall of the House of Whedon

I was debating on whether or not to remark to the latest (and maybe the last) of the ongoing drama with Joss Whedon, but I think at least a summary and retrospective might be in order.  Besides one of the reasons of for the existence of this blog was due to the earlier incarnation of The Other Side getting hacked all the time by Whedon fanboys because they did not like my message then.  So. Here we are nearly 20 years later.

burning house

First, let's start with the most recent news.  On February 10th Charisma Carpenter took to Twitter to talk about how she had been treated by Whedon while filming her last season of Angel.  While widely known to many people in the fan community at the time, this tweet was a revelation to many.  Among the other issues were asking her if she would get an abortion to accommodate the Angel shooting schedule and storyline.  What followed was a tsunami of posts from fellow actors and people associated with Buffy, Angel, and Firefly. 

This has all lead to the #IStandWithCharismaCarpenter hashtag to trend.

The question that some are asking is why is this all trending now versus 18 years ago? Or why are the actors all coming out now as opposed to then?

Well, keep in mind that a lot of the actors and people involved DID come out with these allegations.  I remember talking online about it at the time, in particular, Charisma Carpenter's firing because she got pregnant (which is illegal by the way).  What is different?

First, the actors above have the advantage of a more robust social media infrastructure.  They can get their message out to more, quicker.  Cases in point all the Tweets and Instagram posts above.

Second, there was the MeToo movement which shifted the lens of belief from the auteurs to the actresses.  There are countless stories of Kubrick, Hitchcock, and of course Weinstein but that all changed in the last few years when such behavior would no longer be tolerated.  This gave Ray Fisher a chance to speak out about how he was treated on the set of Justice League.  Cases in point were the comments made by Kai Cole, Whedon's ex-wife on The Wrap.  This was also one of the reasons that Stunt Coordinator Jeff Pruitt And Stuntwoman Sophia Crawford shared their story yet again and that James Marsters felt he could share his story as well.

I mentioned Jeff Pruitt and Sophia Crawford above with a "yet again" they shared this story before. Back in 2000.  It was detailed by Jeff, quasi-anonymously, in his "The Parabal (sic) of a Knight."  He is the Knight, Sophia is the Handmaiden and the Young Prince who becomes King is Whedon. It is also fairly negative to SMG, but that is not what I talking about today.  While he had to hide this in a story, the Buffy fandom at the time dismissed all of Jeff's and Sophia's claims.  It only took 20 years before the fandom took them at their word.

Related to that is my third point. The fandom that revered and protect Whedon is largely gone.  Back in 2003 or so, Whedon was on the top of his world.  Any complaint would have been drowned out by the screaming fans that worshipped him. Case in point. Anytime I would post something to my older version of The Other Side my host would get attacked.  It got so bad that between 2005 to 2009 there was no "Other Side" on the web.  I created this blog since I figured Blogspot/Google would be better protected. Of course by that time I had decided to move on. 

People talk about "toxic fandom" and how it can be directed in a negative way at creators.  One facet they don't mention is how un-checked praise and even worship of creators can also be damaging to others that are trying to warn us about those creatives.  Woody Hall, Harvey Weinstein, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, and yes Whedon all built their cult of personality and auteur status.  These same cults also shielded them from scrutiny.

The "Big Question" everyone is asking is "Why now?"

As I mentioned above the climate has changed.  These actors are no longer in a place where Whedon can damage their career.  They have moved on to other things. Charisma has roles, SMG is living the stay-at-home mom dream she has always wanted (and her husband Freddie Prinze Jr. is doing great), Amber has books out and has been behind the camera more than in front of it.  So the control he once had on their lives is not there.  The fan network has largely gone away as well.

Also, and this can not be stated too many times, other people do not have to conform to your timeline of healing.  Michelle Trachtenberg said it took her years to even come to terms with it.  Eliza Dushku only talked about the sexual abuse she suffered at age 12 three years ago. Michelle Trachtenberg mentions that it took her till she was a woman of 35 to deal with things that happened to her as a teenager of 15. I know others he has been involved with as well. The gaslighting he has done to them still bothers (enrages) them.  You don't get to dictate how others heal.

The question also comes up of why didn't others speak up or stop it.  Well, I think I covered that, the ones that did were blacklisted and deemed "difficult to work with."  You also have actors like Anthony Head and Amy Acker that said they did not see this abuse but support the others all the same.   Again, it can't be said too many times but abusers work by targeting those they know they can abuse and get away with it.  Bullies always pick on those weaker than themselves.  In terms of the power structure, everyone was weaker than the Grand Auteur.

Back in the early 90s I had a job at a head injury facility. I was a Qualified Mental Health Professional for the State of Illinois. I took the job because my own research was on cognitive development.  The job was so depressing. I would call my girlfriend every night after my night shift (she was living 300 miles away at the time; its ok though we got married in the end) complaining about how awful it was.  Not the staff, they were great, it's just the despair.  She asked me many times why I don't just quit.  I couldn't. Apart from needing this on CV for my Ph.D. program, I also needed to eat, pay rent, and have a job that a working grad student could do at night.  I couldn't just leave. Neither could these actors, and I didn't have a contract holding me in a place like they did. 

The Second Big Question is, for me, Why do I even care?

Over the years through my work on the Buffy, Angel, and Ghosts of Albion RPGs I have gotten to know a few of the people involved here. They are good people. In the years following, I have been able to get to know more. They are also good people.  They deserved a lot better than what they were given.

I guess really it is no surprise when given the chance to do my own versions of the Buffy-verse the people that made it over were "played" by Charisma, Amber, Michelle, Eliza, and also  Alyssa Milano and Rose McGowan.

Truthfully the only answer one needs to give to a question of "Why should you care?" is "Because what happened was wrong."

Friday, January 1, 2021

Character Creation Challenge: NIGHT SHIFT

Welcome to 2021! Happy New Year and here's to a better year.  I am going to start this year with the Character Creation Challenge. 

A lot of people will be doing this and that is fantastic.  So if you are doing this on your blog, Twitter, YouTube, or wherever you have an open invitation to post a link to you creation in the comments section below.  I have moderation turned on to stop the spammers, but I'll approve your post.

For me, I am going to do witches. That's my thing and it is why so many people come here I think. Plus it is a challenge for me to take a game and make a witch, Rules As Written.  In every post I will give a little bit of detail about the RPG used and then the character I make and how they might fit into my world or campaigns.

Today I want to start with a game very near and dear to my heart. 

The Game: NIGHT SHIFT Veterans of the Supernatural Wars

NIGHT SHIFT Veterans of the Supernatural Wars is a modern supernatural monster hunting game written by Jason Vey and myself.  We took all of the work we have collectively done with Old-School RPGs along with all the experiences we had while working on Buffy, Angel, Army of Darkness, Ghosts of Albion, and All Flesh Must Be Eaten and poured it into this new game.  My personal goals here were to make a game that I could play any type of witch I wanted and to fill the Buffy-shaped hole in my life.  I feel I succeeded in both.  

NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

The Character: Sabrina Spellman

Last night the fourth (and sadly the last) season of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was released. I am only up to episode 5 so far, but I have all day today.  Plus Sabrina gives me the chance to see how well NIGHT SHIFT holds up to my design goals.

Sabrina Spellman
4th level Female Witch (Supernatual)* 
(In Sabrina's world a witch is a different species of human and different than a "mortal."  Sabrina is also the daughter of Lucifer Morningstar.)

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 15 
Constitution: 13
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 17

HP: 8
Alignment: Neutral (Good Tendencies)
AC: 9 [10]

Check Bonus: +3 (Primary) +2 (Secondary) +0 (Tertiary)

Familiar: Salem (Cat)

Arcane Powers
Supernatural: Astral Travel (to Hell only)
Witch: Innate Magic (Glamour), Telepathic Transmission

Spells 
First: (3) Command, Mind Obscure, Obscurement
Second: (2) ESP, Produce Flame

It's hard to nail down her spells really. She has shown she can cast teleport, exorcism, astral projection and more.  Some of this is plot-focused, others are one-shot abilities.  All I can explain with the use of my ritual magic rules from my Basic-era books.

This version stacks up well with the Swords & Wizardry version and the Cinematic Unisystem version I posted a while back.

I think this is a pretty good build for her to be honest. NIGHT SHIFT really works well for both of my design goals, and a great start to this challenge.



Friday, December 11, 2020

The Golden Age of Wireless: Streaming Service Offerings

No. I am not talking about one of the most fantastic albums ever released (though I should probably spill some virtual ink on that someday).   I am talking about the number of options afforded to us in streaming entertainment.  

In this time of Covid-19 we are supposed to stay at home and avoid interaction with others. That is fine, but it means we are spending a lot more time at home.  So I have been enjoying a lot of what streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon, HBO, and CBS All Access are really trying to get our attention with more programming.  Since I am also saving a small fortune by not having to drive into work anymore I am enjoying all of them.

Since I have been spending my week categorizing over 350 different demons for my demon book I don't have much RPG content to share right now.  So what's good on streaming?

CBS All Access

Or the all Star Trek all the Time Channel. Star Trek Discovery Season 3 has been fantastic this year.  The crew jumped 900+ years into the future (3188 to be exact) to save a sentient AI from falling into the wrong hands.  It doesn't quite have the emotional connection that Season 2 (the search for..well...Spock) did BUT for a Trek fan like me it has been great on the fan service and easter eggs.  This is essentially Season 1 of the new 32nd Century Star Trek.   This gives the creative team so much more freedom to do the special effects they obviously wanted to do anyway but also gives them some good storytelling freedom away from the established Trek canon.  This is amusing because this season has had the most callbacks to previous versions of Trek outside of Season 2's TOS homages. 

image of Star Trek Lower Decks and Discovery

Additionally, we are getting new episodes of Picard, Lower Decks (maybe and second season is coming I have not heard), and new shows like Strange New Worlds (Pike's Enterprise) and Section 31, Starfleet's Gray Ops group.  For a Trek fan this is fantastic!  

Amazon Prime

My October Horror Movie Challenge would not have been possible without Prime.  We have been watching a lot of Vikings lately.  Don't confuse it for actual history (even though it was on the History Channel) it has been fun and has given me some ideas. 

The Second Age Middle Earth series is underway.  Casting has been announced, but I don't think filming has started yet. 

Hulu

Have not taken as much advantage of this one as I should.  But the really fun Helstrom was here (and not Disney+ for some reason) and it shows that when Marvel does Horror, it can do a great job of it.

In many ways, Helstrom and Satana (Ana in the series) was Marvel's answer to DC's Constantine even though Hellstrom (2 "L"s) premiered a decade before.  Hellstrom, Satana, Doctor Strange, Blade and Dracula were all part of the Marvel Horror universe that I loved as a kid.  The changes from the comic to series were needed and very welcome to me really.  It is still full of Marvel AngstTM, but it is also a lot of fun. 

HBO Max (or + or Go or whatever it is called now)

HBO has been around forever. It and Showtime were two of the very, very first "movie channels" out there.  But today HBO is better known for its series.  True Blood (which for some reason is getting a reboot) and Game of Thrones are two notable ones.  This past year I have been watching Lovecraft Country (which is fantastic!) and His Dark Materials, which is getting better in Season 2.  We also got the DC shows, Harley Quinn, Titans, Doom Patrol, and soon we will be able to see Wonder Woman 84 and the Synder Cut of Justice League.

I don't care. I am such a DC fanboy that I am excited about this.

Netflix

The Champion of the Streaming Channels, but it has had some serious competition from Disney+.  Let's see what they have been offering me.  Netflix will be forever fixed in Geek Heaven for Stranger Things.  We will be getting the 4th season of that soon; filming is underway.  Enola Holmes, based on the YA books was also a hit, even if it didn't exactly conform to the established Holmes canon. We also got The Witcher based on the video game and now R. Talsorian Games RPG of the same name.

Speaking of Season 4, we are getting the LAST installment of the Chilling Adventure of Sabrina near the end of the month. It looks like they are taking it where the comic also went, into dealing with Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian horrors.  It looks like it should be great.

I was a little disappointed in ChAoS when they killed off Dorcas played by the lovely Abigail Cowen. while it may have been part of the plot, she was quickly scooped up it seems by another Netflix production, Fate.  I saw the trailer for it today and thought it looked cool, THEN I saw what it was at the end.

Fate: A Winx Saga. Whaaat? Winx Club as a comic and then a kids Nickelodeon animated series.  I thought it was a poor rip-off of Disney's W.I.T.C.H. so did Disney in fact.  Turns out Winx Club was published and in production a full year before the W.I.T.C.H. comics came out.  This is by the same people and is supposed to be darker and more adult.  I happy to see Abby Cowen is something where she is the star, I thought she had great potential on ChAoS and this should be fun too.

Oh. If you have not seen The Queen's Gambit it is fantastic.

Disney+

What can you say about Disney+? I mean even before they acquired Lucasfilm and Marvel they had one of the deepest wells of titles and characters.  Honestly just between the Disney, Pixar, and ABC material they own they could have been fine as a streaming service.  But let's be honest, as great as Pixar is no one dropped the cash for Disney+ for that alone.  Disney+ has been moving along famously in the last year or so thanks to The Baby Yoda Show The Mandalorian.  It has been a fantastic show and Season 2 has been delivering an action-packed episode all season long AND with great storytelling AND with characters I never thought in 40 years I'd see on TV.  While I am a Star Trek fan deep in my DNA, I do love Star Wars.  The adventures of Not Boba Fett and Space Pikachu has been some of the best Star Wars I have seen.  Disney+ could honestly do a victory lap now, but that was until yesterday when they made their 2021 announcements.

I have no idea how many new shows and movies are coming out for Marvel and Star Wars now. Lots. More than I ever thought one studio would try to do.  Instead of trying to recap them all (lots of other sites are doing that) let me just focus on the ones that interest me. 

WandaVison

I have a love/hate relationship with Scarlet Witch in Marvel.  First, she was never really a witch so I often felt "lied" too, except the times she was a witch. And a mutant. She was a villain, she was a hero, she was depowered, she was overpowered. As a character, she was all over the place. And sometimes she was just that, all over the place. She suffered from bouts of insanity, deep depression, and loss.  

I will give the movies credit on a couple of things.  Divorced from her "mutant" background it gave her character more definition. Also for the first time, I bought into her's and Vision's love for each other.

The new series WandaVision looks like it takes the background of the comic's characters and really makes a good series out of it.

Seriously, this could be Wanda going mad and her powers acting out creating new realities or something else. Or both. Given the character, it is likely both. Elizabeth Olsen is also a great actress and she can pull this off.  Frankly, the riffs on "Bewitched" are enough to get me to watch it. 

Watching this new trailer really puts a different spin on the first trailer released.  

There certainly something else going on here. I am looking forward to it.

Marvel: What If...?

One of my favorite Marvel Titles was "What If...?" The comic would break off into different sorts of stories all under the "What If" question.  What if Spider-man joined the Fantastic Four? Was the first one. "What if Gwen Stacy had lived? was an interesting one as well.  The best may have been the introduction of May "Mayday" Parker as "Spider-Girl" and the Gwen Stacy arc eventually planted the seeds to give us "Spider Gwen".  If Barry Allen/The Flash is the center point of DC's multiverse, then certainly Spider-man is the center of Marvel's.  It seems a little odd to me then that Spider-man doesn't feature at all in the trailer of Disney+'s "Marvel: What If...?" series.

I am sure it is more shenanigans with Sony.  Though the rumor is now that Alfred Molina will return as Doctor Octopus in the third Spider-man movie. Additionally, we could get past Peter Parkers as well now that Disney owns what was 20th Century Fox and Into the Spider-verse was a huge success. 

Here we are.  Our geek cups run over and there is more to fill even more cups.

Never would I have suspected that we would have so much genre entertainment at our fingertips.  Which is good since we really should not be going anywhere.

Ok Prof. Dolby, play us out.