Welcome to the Screamsheet! This place can best be described as a reflection of my weird and fragmented personality. Here you’ll find rants both childish and mature, fiction both published and unpublished, music, videos, and anything else that might wander across my brain.
I’m a Forgotten Realms player from my 2nd edition AD&D days, which means I got exposed to the setting right around the time that Elminster the Sage was crammed down players’ throats everywhere. He showed up in the majority of Realms fiction, bothered PCs during official adventure modules, and even showed up to meddle with affairs in the Baldur’s Gate videogames.
I’ve discussed how annoying I found Elminster in those days, and I’ve tried to avoid turning the uber-powerful mage of my own setting into a character with those same flaws. However, I don’t think that Elminster is necessarily bad for the Forgotten Realms setting. It’s just his presentation that tends to be bad.
Here are a few optional takes on Elminster that might make him more interesting. Each of these takes assumes the same Elminster that appears in the 3rd edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting – the 30+ level character with silver fire and a +5 longsword that he has no reason to use. So in each model, he’s a being of demigod-level might who can wreck worlds. But that doesn’t mean he has to be as smug and boring as he appears in official fiction and adventure modules. Continue reading
I spend a lot of time ranting about superhero comics, especially the ones from Marvel and DC. That’s because those comics are usually the most intriguing to me – not only are they a rare example of serial fiction that has lasted for decades on end, but superheroes are one of the most iconic aspects of American society. Characters like Captain America and Wonder Woman are as ingrained in our popular consciousness as folklore legends like Paul Bunyan.
When it comes to sheer quality of storytelling in comics, though, superhero comics usually aren’t the way to go. Not that they are inherently inferior or anything, but they are so continuity-laden, riddled with conflicting interpretations, and driven by corporate agendas that the very best storytelling in comics tends to be divorced from that genre. Luckily, comics are a versatile medium with lots to offer beyond flights and tights. Here’s a look at some of my favorite non-superhero comics. I don’t mention them a lot in rants, but that’s largely because they’re so good that I don’t often have anything to say but, “This is awesome.”