Saturday, February 4, 2012

Zatannurday: Happy Birthday Bruce Timm!

Bruce Timm, artist, animator, director and producer celebrates his birthday this coming week (Wednesday, Feb 8).  So I figured what better than some Bruce Timm and DCAU/Timmverse version of Zee!

Zatanna came in to the Bruce Timm/DCAU/B:TAS world in the episode naturally titled "Zatanna".

It featured a young Bruce Wayne and an even younger Zatanna back when Bruce was learning escapology.

Here is what Timm and Paul Dini said at the time about this episode.

Paul Dini on Zatanna’s appearance on Batman: “Bruce [Wayne] had to learn to be an escape artist from someone, and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if he learned from Zatara, DC’s old Golden Age hero, who at the time had a cute, little sixteen-year old daughter?’ I pitched this to Paul Levitz, president of DC Comics, who said, ‘That’s wonderful; that’s better than anything we’ve ever done with Zatanna! And it was logical that, if he learned from her father, he would have had a little thing going with Zatanna (courtesy of Cinefantastique Magazine)."

Bruce Timm on Zatanna (circa 1998): “We wanted to make sure [that] any superhero guest stars would make sense within the context of the Batman show. So we played Zatanna’s down and made her more of a David Copperfield-type of magician so that she had a bit more realistic framework for her appearance (courtesy of Wizard Magazine).”

She would then go on to stay friends with Batman, even learn his real name and display the power we are accustomed to seeing.

We all know Paul Dini loves Zatanna, but Bruce Timm can't be too far behind.

So happy birthday Bruce Timm!

Friday, February 3, 2012

RPG/D&D Survey

Johnathan over at B/X Blackrazor has a survey he would like everyone to participate in.

There is an Excel file you need to download and send back to him.

Fill it out, encourage other to do so as well.  It is not really marketing research (not asking those sorts of questions) but more of a temperature gauge.

Check it out.

Random Updates

A couple of updates this morning.

Like Victorian era RPGs?  Don't forget about my Victorian Gamers Association on Facebook.

There is a winner for the "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" contest!
Bob correctly identified Stevie Nicks as my big 80's (and 90s...) crush.
His 10 dollar gift code for DriveThruRPG has been sent out.

I picked up a couple of new horror games that I hope to have reviews up for soon.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

"Let's Play 1st Ed. Dad!"

Those are the words I heard after I told my boys that 5e was on the way and there were going to be reprints of the 1st Ed AD&D books.

Part of me is thrilled, another part of me is wondering what the hell am I going to do with all the 4e stuff I bought. ;)  You might recall my Big PlanTM was going to be have the kids fight Orcus.

Here are the adventures I am thinking of running with them at the moment.  You will note that these all have a large amount of undead and "horror" themes to them.  As with the "Dragonslayers" I'd run this to level 20 or so.

    • T1 The Village of Hommlet, levels 1-2. 
    • B1 In Search of the Unknown, levels 1-3
    • B2 The Keep on the Borderlands, levels 1-3 (this should be higher really, the caves are a killer)
    • L1 The Secret of Bone Hill, levels 2-4
    • X2 Castle Amber, levels 3-6 
    • I6 Ravenloft, levels 5-7. That is if I don't use it as a convert Ghosts of Albion adventure. Use some of the Ravenloft campaign/world setting stuff here too.
    • I10 Ravenloft II, House on Gryphon Hill, levels 8-10. (maybe)
    • I9 Day of Al'Akbar, level 8-10. Useful for the Cup and Talisman of Al'Akbar.
    • S1 Tomb of Horrors, levels 10-14
    • S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, levels 8-12 (this is an odd one.)
    • G123, Against the Giants, levels 8-12
    • D12 Descent into the Depths of the Earth, levels 9-14
    • D3 Vault of the Drow, levels 10-14
    • Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits, levels 10-14 (maybe)
    • CM2 Death's Ride, levels 15-20. (If I don't use it in my current games. Thematically it fits better here.)
    Then there are these modules:
    • H1 Bloodstone Pass, levels 15+
    • H2 The Mines of Bloodstone, levels 16-18
    • H3 The Bloodstone Wars, levels 17-20
    • H4 The Throne of Bloodstone, levels 18-100
  • Interestingly enough this is almost EXACTLY the same path my characters took when I played back in the day.  Some of these will be my first time running, others (B1, I6) I can run in my sleep.

  • Others I have a bigger issue with.  As muchas I LOVED the D series, we live in a post Drizzt world.  Drow are not the TOS era Romulans anymore.  They are the DS9 era Romulans.  The mystery is gone. Drow are no longer a big secret anymore.  Plus how does Lolth fit into the Orcus plot?  No idea.  She doesn't have too, but I want a big sweeping epic.  Something my kids will talk about when they are older.

  • If I do keep with 4e, I can do my original plan.  In both cases the Big Bad is Orcus.  And I kinda like that idea to be honest.

  • If do 1st Ed I am very likely to include information from JB's B/X Companion Rules and the Rules Cyclopedia to deal with the higher level play.

  • Who knows, maybe 5e will give me the power to use all this stuff under one game system.

  • Of course there is one other option.  Play the 1st ed games as a "Flash back" game or even (gasp!) a time travel one.  The characters (whether 4e or 5e) spend some time in the past.  I would stat up the characters as 1st Ed ones.  I kinda like this idea to be honest.  Play my 4e plan, and then hit some of the past adventures too.  I could then be more selective about which older adventures to use.

  • So many games to play and so little time....
  • My first House Rule

    Ok, maybe not my first one, but one of them any way.

    "You are allowed to name your character after a Lords of the Rings character.  But only once."

    I think we have all done it and then later in life thought "man what was I thinking?".  I had a halfing thief named Bilbo.  My son is in the "regret" stage now with his wizard named "Gandalf".  I told him not to worry that everyone has done it (que a bunch of replies of people saying "I never did!").

    So instead of feeling bad about it I say embrace it.  Own it.
    Galdalf was named after a legendary near-mythical wizard.  With a name like that he was bound for greatness.  Bilbo is a very popular name among halflings, as is Frodo and Sam.

    So here is where I have to ask.  Did anyone name a character after a Tolkien character?

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Quick Reminder: Tumble 4 Ya and Contest

    I posted a sign-up sheet for the I'll Tumble 4 Ya Blogfest.

    I am also running a contest.

    If you can guess my 80s crush then you can win a $10 gift code good at DriveThruRPG!
    I'll need a valid email address to you send the code.

    I will give you a hint.  I have mentioned her here before (at least 3 posts I can find) and it should not be a big surprise.

    Good Luck!

    White Dwarf Wednesday Issue 4

    Welcome back to another White Dwarf Wednesday.  Today we will be looking into Issue #4.

    This issue covers Dec 1977 to January 1978.  So still not quite to the point where I was playing yet.  But getting there.

    The editorial this month is bemoaning the lack of good British publishers of war games and minis.  Funny, I chose to read White Dwarf and review again now because they were British.

    An interesting adventure of Alice in Dungeonland from Don Turnbull, years before Gygax would do something similar.  Lew Pulsipher continues on his series of D&D campaigns.
    An interesting article about Hyboria follows.  Author Tony Bath explains how he took the REH country and made it into a world he could use. The article reads like a good blog posting about world building.  There is a lesson here. That it is still very true you get from the game what you put into it.

    Skipping over most of the reviews I am going to focus on a product reviewed that is near and dear to my heart, TSR's Dungeon! Reviewed by Fred Hemmings he gives it an overall score of 8, noting that the artwork was a bad point and it was expensive (listed at £7.95).  Having bought a rare first edition of Dungeon at a auction some years back I have to concur about the price.  He does call it a D&D board game (even if he gives it bad point for the folding board/map).

    Don Turnbull is back giving us a few new monsters that more concept than stats.  We are introduced to the likes of the Glitch, Droll, Smoke Creature, Smoke Demon, the Black Leech, the Black Orc (which I have used in my own games) and the Black Monk.  The creatures are given basic HD, AC and attacks and a Monster Mark score.

    The first "real" new class is presented in the Treasure Chest, The Barbarian.  There are some similarities between this one and the one that would later appear in the Unearthed Arcana, but they are still different enough.  For example no rage like ability, but there is a Ferocity ability.

    We end the issue with Fred Hemmings look into Competitive D&D and the letters and classifieds.

    This issue really felt like it was on the way to becoming the White Dwarf I remember.  Gone are the silly classes to be replaced by something quite usable.  Monster Mark is now being used in practice, not just in theory, even if just a little.

    Looking back at this I am sure I must have merged a lot of this material into a whole when stating out my own D&D world.  I even have "Black Orcs" in my world as the fiercest orcs. Like Hyboria they are from the north.