Archive for the Rants Category

4 Great Character Introductions in Film

Posted in Film, Rants, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 12, 2017 by Charlie Brooks

Humphrey Bogart as Rick BlaineYou’ve got a great film hero and you’re just dying to make audiences fall in love with the character. How do you make that happen effectively? Introducing a character is no easy task, but it helps that there are dozens of examples of great introductions in film.

The best character introductions have a few things in common. They are efficiently shot, with nothing in the frame going to waste. They tell the audience the essentials about the character, usually without a lot of dialogue. And they get viewers invested not only in the character, but the film as a whole.

The list below is by no means comprehensive, but it represents what comes to my mind when I think of great character introductions. This being a purely subjective list, it is tinted heavily by my love of pop culture. That said, I do think that each of them stand out as great moments in cinema. Continue reading

Gaming Stories: The Ignominious Death of Machiavelli

Posted in Gaming Stories, Rants, RPG Rants, Uncategorized with tags on May 24, 2017 by Charlie Brooks

Carriage ChaseThis is a story about chaos and mismanaged expectations. It involves the death of a PC whose player had only started gaming two sessions ago. Somehow, my botched GMing didn’t drive him away from the tabletop for good and in fact became a tale that many who were there recall fondly.

The poor unfortunate PC was an elf named Machiavelli. I remember very little of the character himself, save for the fact that he had a Dexterity of 20, which will become relevant later. This game took place right at the start of 3rd edition D&D, so the fact that a 1st-level character could have a 20 in anything seemed amazing at the time.

The story doesn’t begin with Machiavelli, though. It begins with his adventuring companion Penelope. The same Penelope who killed a dryad and called it an evil tree spirit, who loves drawing from the deck of many things, and who turned into a magic sword. She’s been a constant agent of chaos in my setting for 17 years now. For her 18th birthday, I might buy the character sheet some lottery tickets and porn.

Continue reading

Rogue One and the Disturbing Implications of Star Wars Droids

Posted in Film, Rants with tags on May 17, 2017 by Charlie Brooks

K-2SO(Spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story below.)

My wife and I recently watched Rogue One. Better late than never, after all. Happily, I found it to be a really good movie. That really puts it into above and beyond territory, because it could have been awful and still been worth watching just for the Vader scene at the end. Continue reading

Comic Rants: The Best Plot Twist that Never Happened

Posted in Comic Books, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 30, 2017 by Charlie Brooks

All-Star SupermanI make no exaggeration when I say that All-Star Superman is the best Superman story of all time. It’s also one of the best comic book stories in history, with everything meticulously and lovingly placed. Despite the obvious care with which it was written, though, my favorite part of the story isn’t technically there.

(Spoilers for those who haven’t read All-Star Superman below. I highly recommend reading the story first before I ruin it for you.)

One of the best fan theories in the story comes from Cole Moore Odell back in 2008, which states that Superman’s ally Leo Quintum is actually a time-displaced Lex Luthor who became a good guy after Superman’s “death” at the end of the series. And that theory works perfectly. Continue reading

Gaming Stories: Return of the Deck of Many Things

Posted in Gaming Stories, Pathfinder, Rants, Role-Playing Games, RPG Rants with tags on January 11, 2017 by Charlie Brooks

Deck of Many ThingsFor more than 15 years now, one of my main GMing strategies when I run a D&D or Pathfinder campaign has gone something like this:

  1. Give the PCs the deck of many things.
  2. Wait for them to draw from it.
  3. Have fun with the results.

If I ever doubted that the deck of many things is the greatest magic item in the game, those doubts were dispelled at my last Pathfinder session. Continue reading

Delving into the Book of Erotic Fantasy: Wear Protection

Posted in Rants, Role-Playing Games, RPG Rants with tags , on November 15, 2016 by Charlie Brooks

Book of Erotic FantasyOriginally posted on Sidekickcast.com

Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition introduced the Open Gaming License, which made huge chunks of the D&D rules open to third parties. It created thriving adventure lines, such as Dungeon Crawl Classics and even allowed the creation of competing games, such as Pathfinder. But by far one of the most simultaneously awesome and horrible products that emerged as a result of this license is the Book of Erotic Fantasy.

Continue reading

Highlander: The Raven

Posted in Film, Rants with tags , , on November 5, 2016 by Charlie Brooks

Not exactly an image that fills me with a lot of hope...Originally published 1/19/11, updated 11/5/16

Question: What if you set out to make a TV show and every single person involved hated each other with the burning fury of a thousand exploding suns?

Answer: You’d have Highlander: The Raven.

Continue reading