Archive for the Rants Category

The Many Worlds of D&D, part one

Posted in Rants, RPG Rants, Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 26, 2017 by Charlie Brooks

Dungeon MasterDungeons & Dragons has never been about one single fantasy world. In fact, beginning in the 1980s, the game spawned a multiverse that stands on par with anything churned out in the comic book industry. Through the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition years especially, D&D became home to dozens of parallel fantasy worlds.

Unfortunately, the D&D multiverse was very bad for business. In the 1990s, TSR split its market by supporting too many settings and chasing diminishing returns. Recent editions have focused on the most profitable settings, with 5th edition adventures taking place almost entirely in the Forgotten Realms and paying lip service to other worlds.

Despite the more sensible business model, the many settings of D&D still have their fans and, thanks to the existence of affordable PDFs, are available to new audiences who want to explore the past. I can’t tackle the many settings of D&D in a single article, but this is a start with more to come.

For the purposes of this survey of worlds, I’m focusing solely on officially published campaigns released by TSR or Wizards of the Coast. Including other D&D compatible settings such as the ones introduced through the Dungeon Crawl Classics and Pathfinder lines would quite honestly make my head explode. Continue reading

Advertisements

Why I Stopped Reading Marvel and DC

Posted in Comic Books, Rants with tags , on September 19, 2017 by Charlie Brooks

Comic book movies may be big business, but sales of the books have dropped. There have been many different explanations for the drop, including a now-infamous statement from the VP of Sales blaming diversity. But no one seems to know the real reason for the slump.

I’m not business savvy enough or sufficiently knowledgeable about the market to point to the reason for the plummeting sales, but I do know what’s driven me away from the big two of Marvel and DC. Here’s what moved me off the treadmill…and it has nothing to do with diversity. Continue reading

Buster Moon is History’s Greatest Monster

Posted in Film, Rants, Uncategorized with tags on September 5, 2017 by Charlie Brooks

Buster MoonIf you want an animated movie that teaches all the wrong lessons to kids, Sing will fulfill your desire. The film pulled in more than $600 million worldwide and garnered positive reviews from critics who seemed to miss something very important: Buster Moon is a monster who must be stopped.

Continue reading

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