December 30th, 2008

there!, Hello

Another Book For the Pile of Completed Reads...

68) Sellswords of Punjar by Harley Stroh (2008, Goodman Games, 32 pages).
The first of Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics line of adventure modules for Fourth Edition Dungeons and Dragons. This module tries very hard to live up to the Fritz Leiber style origins of the roleplaying game, providing a series of locations for players to adventure through, in their efforts to solve the mystery of The Beggar King. Encounters are a little combat heavy (what else is new?), but atmospheric flavor text abounds. While there are few developed personalities for the characters to encounter (maybe three), the setting itself is pretty nice. Starting with an urban based setting, the action moves subterranean rather quickly. By the adventure's end, characters should move from first to third (or higher) level.

As it is, I will not use it. However, I will happily tear it apart to make a variety of smaller encounters to serve several more plot heavy sections. In fact, this is what I've done. Taking the small subunits of the urban stretches and building them into full stories on their own. Example: One section, called (I kid you not) "The Bazaar of the Bizarre" (did I mention Fritz Leiber's influence?) takes up one room in a slum building, and is directly connected to two other rooms. I've chosen to take these places out and plant them elsewhere in the city, and then to construct a story around them. That eerie fountain (which is presented as something of a throwaway encounter) gets moved and made central to a completely separate adventure.

As a book to rip apart for inspiration and tasty pieces, Sellswords is filled with nice moments. Were I a traditional "kick in the door, kill the orc and take his stuff" I might run this mostly as written. It certainly lends itself well to that mode of play. However, that is not my cup of tea.

Cool additional materials: a two sided, full color battle mat, and pages of "roof tiles" under which to hide the rooms the characters have not yet wandered through. Pretty cool stuff.

This may well be the last book I read this year... Who knows?
there!, Hello

Feeling Insane Amounts of Joy (Friday the 13t the Series!!!!!), no doubt aided by Scotch consumption

So, after a half a bottle of scotch, and three episodes of a guilty pleasure television series, I have to say: Friday the 13th the Series (silly name for a show, no?) is still a wonderful experience.

Got the first season as a December Holiday gift, and I just watched the pilot (which starts well, and then features the best and worst aspects of the show, in a story ultimately revolving around a killer doll), as well as eps two (girl Mikey and her boy cousin Ryan infiltrate a monastary), and three (eeeevil cupid doll allows ugly men to score with pretty chicks, so long as those ugly men kill the pretty chicks after they have scored). Wow.

So I first saw this show when I was, like twelve. In Fall of 1987, I saw an ep on my little television set. A Hallowe'en episode, believe it or not (an episode I am quite interested in revisiting). I believe this was ep 5? Whatever. So, I watched the series off and on through the first season and then watched it pretty religiously in reruns, and still somehow never saw the pilot. Well, now I have seen the pilot (as mentioned above), and it is a delight. After so much baaaaaad horror fiction (which has actually turned me off to reading most horror fiction, believe it or no), such a silly little show has rekindled the joy of being twelve again, and seeing something that is altogether spooky wonderful.

I cannot comment upon the writing quality of the episodes (which is hit or miss, alas), but the nostalgia value for me is pretty wonderful. And the series has a great premise:

a couple of normal enough folks [Mikki and her cousin Ryan) inherit an antiques store where the antiques are (cue the bum-bum-BAAAA music) cursed]. Each item requires a sacrifice, but offers something malefic-ally special. The normal protags (and JACK MARSHAK!!!!! A magician and mentor and friend of the normal protags) are charged with recovering all the cursed items that have been sold.

Even without a half bottle of scotch (Glen Moray, if you were curious; one of my christmas gifts, from the ever lovely hntrpyanfar if you were curious; the scotch was a gift from her, the DVDs were a gift from my folks), I will always harbor a love for this show.

AFTER a half a bottle of Scotch (Glen Moray, if you were curious, ;) ), I will sing its praises.

Well, maybe not sing. Warble certainly. :)


Good show, certainly one of my many inspirations. Hoooow many of my Call of Cthluhu roleplaying game characters have been based off of Jack Marshak -- sorry, JACK MARSHAK!!!!! -- I cannot count right now. Mostly because my fingers are blurring. (Heh, heh, heh.) More so, this show brings a bright spot in my heart, recalling the world of a twelve year old boy watching a show he was not supposed to... mixed with a sixteen year old sharing the show with parents, mixed with a thirty plus year old fellow having fond recollections, along with scotch. :)

Does this make any sense? Probably not since I am quite drunk. Aaaaaaanyway. . . (Jeanne Caveleos would be happy since I am still using the proper punctuation for elipses. dot-space-dot-space-dot)

I adore Friday the 13th the Series (which is a very unfortunate title, since the series has NOTHING to do with Jason or Camp Crsytal Lake), and am looking forward to revisiting several episodes (though not the one with the cursed pipe, since I have seen that one WAY TOO MANY TIMES in reruns).

Odd to think that I have never before seen the pilot. But it's true. I never have. And it was cool (!!!) up until the actual devolution into the hunt for cursed artifacts. I liked the prologue about Louis Vondredis. I liked the fact that Ryan and Mikki inherit the store and then SELL THE CURSED ARTIFACTS OFF AT FIRE SALE PRICES (!!!!) to any tom, dick and harry who come through the doors. After that, though the episode is rather silly. :) But it is certainly charming.

Charming is a word to describe the series as a whole (though I am looking forward to the episode directed by one of my four favorite directors in the WOOOOORLD!, David Cronenberg, on disc 3. The episode's name is "Faith Healer" for those playing along at home), though this is probably granted quite a bit due to my nostalgia.

And the scotch I have consumed.

Ah well. We shall see what happens, now that I have run out of scotch. . . I am sure I will buy more, before I watch again. . .